Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SkyView employee arraignment continued: Tracy Municipal Airport (KTCY), California

MANTECA — A 30-year-old SkyView Aviation employee facing vehicular manslaughter charges appeared in Manteca Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 28, for his first arraignment hearing.

A private attorney representing reported SkyView employee Eric Rode-Olsen asked Manteca Judge Ron Northup to lower the bail amount from $150,000 to $60,000. He also told the judge that he would be willing to keep Rode-Olsen’s Swedish passport locked in his office, which would prevent him from leaving the country should he be bailed from San Joaquin County Jail.

Rode-Olsen is accused of crashing his late-model BMW into the Delta-Mendota Canal around 11:40 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, killing one of three passengers he was allegedly driving. That man is now presumed drowned.

The passengers in the BMW, all Swedish students in the SkyView pilot training program, were reportedly in Rode-Olsen’s car as it traveled down one of the Tracy Municipal Airport runways before the car crashed through a fence, launched off a levy and landed in the water.

Three of the car’s occupants, including Rode-Olsen, escaped the swift waters. The body of the fourth passenger, a 23-year-old man from Sweden whose name has not been released by the Tracy Police Department, has yet to be recovered.

The defense attorney told the judge Tuesday that Rode-Olsen’s employer from SkyView, reportedly company owner Richard Ortenheim, was present in the courtroom. The attorney also said Rode-Olsen was living with him.

While considering a bail reduction, Northup asked the defense attorney if Rode-Olsen had a pilot’s license, and he was told no. After reviewing the bail, the judge said he was willing to lower it to $100,000.

The defense attorney also asked the judge if he would delay the next court hearing for a few weeks to allow him time to gather additional evidence, including the results of Rode-Olsen’s toxicology tests. The results seek to determine whether there were any drugs or alcohol in Rode-Olsen’s system at the time of the accident.

The judge agreed to set the next arraignment hearing for March 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Manteca Superior Court.

According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s county jail website, Rode-Olsen was still in custody as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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