Family and friends are remembering three University of Oklahoma meteorology students who were killed in a crash Friday after chasing storms in Oklahoma.
Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton County, had dreams of becoming a television meteorologist one day, his friends say.
“All three of them, were just the perfect example of what a human should be, and how humans should treat others,” said University of Oklahoma meteorology student Leigh O’Neil.
Nair was with 19-year-old Gavin Short of Grayslake, Illinois, and 22-year-old Drake Brooks of Evansville, Indiana, when they were struck by a tractor-trailer after losing control of their vehicle following a day of storm chasing near the Oklahoma-Kansas border.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
“What they wanted to do for a living was help save other people's lives,” said Reagan Rasmussen, an OU meteorology student who was among those in a close-knit group of friends.
Nair was “constantly dancing,” said OU meteorology student Gwyneth Glanton.
“He had the prettiest smile I think we’ve ever seen,” added O’Neil.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Nair quickly found a second family on the OU campus with the same fascination and dedication to science and weather. He even joined the student group Met Crew Chasers and tracked storms in Oklahoma and back home in Denton County.
“There’s definitely a few times as storms went through Dallas while we've been up here and [Nair] was always like, posting on social media like talking to his friends. I think like I saw him call his family a few times,” said friend and OU meteorology student Robby Frost.
Friends say Nair, Short and Brooks were headed home last Friday after chasing storms near the Kansas-Oklahoma border when Nair lost control behind the wheel, his car hydroplaned and was hit by a tractor-trailer, killing all three.
“Gavin [Short], smartest person you’ll ever meet. So intelligent,” said Glanton.
The group all said they often leaned on Short.
“He was going to change the field of meteorology forever,” said O’Neil.
Friend Marty Seeker says Brooks’ mother told him her son had called home as the trio finished tracking the storm.
“He called them and told them how, you know, it was the happiest, or it was one of the happiest days of his life,” said Seeker.
Knowing this has brought these OU students some comfort.
“They will always be with us and we will always be inspired by these three,” said O’Neil.
The group is asking for everyone on the OU campus to wear red next Monday to honor the three young men.
The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma has dedicated at least two weather balloon launches to the three students.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated, according to local authorities in Oklahoma.