FighterSweep Fans, it’s hard to know what to say about this one. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions, the answers to which have very serious repercussions for the safety and security of U.S. Navy personnel at other installations across the country. It makes one wonder how a vehicle was able to get past the gate at NAS Lemoore and its existing force protection apparatus, let alone seven miles inside the base and onto the flightline. We’ll be keeping an eye on the investigation as it progresses and bring you more information as it becomes available.

A wrong-way driver leading authorities on a high-speed chase crashed through a gate and into a fighter jet at a central California naval base, killing himself and a passenger, authorities said Thursday.

The Navy base does not appear to be an intended target, and the man and woman who died were not affiliated with the military, said Capt. Monty Ashliman, commander at Naval Air Station Lemoore. He said authorities are investigating what started the chase and how the driver broke through the secured gate.

“Regardless of procedures we have in place, something went wrong and we had a tragic accident,” Ashliman said. “We have got to figure out a way to prevent that from happening in the future.”

NAS Lemoore
Captain Monty Ashliman, commander of NAS Lemoore, addresses the media following a high speed pursuit and fatal crash on the installation. (Photo courtesy of Visalia Times Delta)

Authorities say the chase began off the base late Wednesday, when a California Highway Patrol officer stopped to check on a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the roadside. The driver sped off, driving erratically and going the wrong way at one point on highway south of Fresno.

The CHP does not know why the SUV fled, Lt. Dave Knoff said.

The original article can be viewed at the Navy Times right here.
(Featured photo courtesy of Jonathan Derden)