Family Remembers OU Meteorology Student Killed In Crash

Monday, May 2nd 2022, 10:22 pm

The family of one of the OU Meteorology students killed in a car crash last week is sharing their memories of him. 

Drake Brooks, Nicholas Nair, and Gavin Short died Friday night while driving home after storm chasing. The Brooks family said Drake studied meteorology because he had had a passion for keeping people safe.

"I miss him," said Wren Brooks, Drake's sister. 

22-year-old Drake Brooks was a brother, son, gamer, and weather enthusiast.

"At about the age of 4, we had a tornado warning, and we all went down in our basement. And Drake was very scared, and I had to explain to him that the tornado was not as big as the county that it was warned for," said Tammy Brooks, Drake's mom. "I knew, okay knowledge is power, you know; explain this to him. So, we got out the old 1970 [...] encyclopedias and started reading about tornadoes," said Tammy. 

Drake was hooked and read every weather book he could get his hands on; he was the weather kid on the local news and became a certified spotter.

Tammy said the 3rd happiest day of his life was getting accepted to OU's School of Meteorology. 

"OU, we never visited but when it came up, he realized that the national weather service center was on campus," said Tammy. "And then he found out that the university itself was founded on his birthday which was December 19th and he just thought that was the coolest thing."

The 2nd was getting his OU ID, tied with getting his weather center lanyard.

"This is hard. The happiest day of his life was the day that he passed away. Because he had gone our chasing with his friends, and he saw his first tornado on the ground. And he called us," said Tammy. 

Tammy said she could hear his friend in the background beaming.

"I said, 'Oh, are you so excited?' He said is the best night of my life," said Tammy. "He said, 'We're heading back home now mom' and I said 'Okay, be careful,' and he said, 'I will. I love you.' And that's all that we heard from him."

Troopers said Drake Brooks, Nicholas Nair, and Gavin Short hydroplaned near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line, then a semi-hit them.

"I knew Drake was going to do big things. I really did. I knew he was going to do big things. I just didn't want it to be this way," said Tammy.

Drake's dad said the whole weather community has been supportive.  

"It's the only thing that's kept me, personally, standing on my feet," said Doug Brooks, Drake's Dad. 

"I sincerely believe if meteorologists and storm chasers ruled the world it would be heaven on earth because they are the kindest most generous most thoughtful people," said Tammy. 

Tammy couldn't have asked for better friends for Drake. 

"He was in the right place. All these people, they were his people," said Tammy. "He's at the point where he can see every storm system all at once."

Tammy said she misses her son but is proud of the man he became. 

"I would tell him that I love him and that I'm happy that he got to see what he wanted to see," said Tammy. "I just love him and thank you for giving me 22 years of being just the best, best kid. It's such an honor to be his mom and I'm so proud of how he represented our family."