A 19-year-old man from Grayslake was among three meteorology students killed in a crash with a semi-truck in Oklahoma after storm chasing Friday.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol identified the victims as Nicholas K. Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas, Gavin A. Short, 19, of Grayslake, and Drake H. Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana.
Nair was driving a 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan southbound on Interstate 35 near Tonkawa, Oklahoma, around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Short and Brooks were passengers in the vehicle, which became disabled and was blocking the outside lane of the interstate, the highway patrol said in a report.
A semi-truck traveling in the southbound lanes crashed into the stopped Volkswagen.
The three men were heavily entrapped in the car and it took hours to free them. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.
The University of Oklahoma said in a statement that Nair, Short and Brooks were students at their university. “Each were valued and loved members of our community.”
The Oklahoman reported that the three students had been storm chasing a tornado near Herrington, Kansas, and were returning back to Oklahoma.
Short’s brother, Evan Short, 17, told the newspaper that Gavin “lived more in his 1.5 years at OU than in his first 18 years of life.”
“I can find solace in the idea that now he can live among the clouds which he loved so much,” Evan Short said.
The University of Oklahoma’s College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences said in a statement on social media that the university is in communication with the families.
“We are deeply saddened and our sincerest condolences go out to all affected families and friends. Our leadership and faculty stand ready to support each of our community members in the days, weeks, and months ahead as we all grieve this unthinkable heartbreak,” the statement said.