It’s hard to imagine how jarring it would be to be driving down the interstate, only to have your commute interrupted by an aircraft crash in your path. Today’s incident had tragic results, as one of the occupants of a vehicle the aircraft collided with was killed. The pilot and his passenger were also seriously injured, and witnesses report the Lancair IV appeared to be “having problems” before it came down.
A small plane that made headlines when it landed safely on a Southern California freeway years ago crashed on the same stretch of road Saturday, slamming into a car and killing a woman in the vehicle.
Five others, including the pilot and his passenger, were injured in the crash on a stretch of Interstate 15 that has been the scene of several emergency landings.
Witnesses said the single-engine plane appeared to be having problems before it banked and came down, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Parent said. One man said he didn’t hear the plane’s engine as it passed overhead.
The Lancair IV landed on its belly and skidded about 250 feet before striking the rear of a black Nissan Altima sedan that was stopped on the shoulder of the road in San Diego County near Fallbrook. The driver of the car had pulled over to synchronize the Bluetooth device on his phone, Parent said.
The impact crumpled the back of the car, fatally crushing Antoinette Isbelle, 38, of San Diego in the back seat and injuring three others in the vehicle, authorities said.
“The plane went completely into the trunk and pushed the rear bumper almost into the rear passenger seat,” said John Buchanan, spokesman for the North County Fire Protection District.
Pilot Dennis Hogge, 62, and his female passenger suffered major injuries, Parent said. The driver suffered moderate injuries, and his other two passengers were expected to survive their injuries.
The plane was once owned by major league catcher Matt Nokes, who made a noteworthy landing on busy I-15 when the engine quit on its second flight on Feb. 18, 2000.