Two Storm Chasers Suing Crane County Officials

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

CRANE COUNTY - Two out of town storm chasers are suing Crane County.

According to a report by the Odessa American, they say officials owe them damages after a run-in with a local deputy while they were tracking a funnel cloud.

The paper says an attorney for Brian Barnes filed the suit in a federal court on Friday.

Barnes is a tour guide for Violent Skies Tours, a company that offers storm chasing vacation tours.

Barnes provided NewsWest Nine with a video of his arrest in 2008 by former Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Ellison.

Ellison arrested Barnes after authorities say the men refused to leave a roadside park as a storm approached.

Shortly after the incident, the Sheriff's Department let Ellison go.

Now Barnes and one other storm chaser are suing both the department and County officials for punitive damages.

According to the OA, the suit states the arrest was unlawful and damaged Violent Skies Tours' reputation.

NewsWest 9 tried to get a comment from all parties involved on Sunday, but most didn't answer our calls.

Someone at the Sheriff's Department did say they couldn't comment at this time.