Monday, March 26, 2012

Tracy Municipal (KTCY), California: Police Speed a factor in airport car crash

Debris marks the spot where a car plunged into the Delta-Mendota Canal after a car accident on February 23rd.
Glenn Moore/Tracy Press

Speed played a factor in a crash, police said Thursday, March 22, that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old Swedish pilot on Feb. 23 outside Tracy Municipal Airport.

The driver of the car, Eric Rode-Olsen, 30, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after the car he was allegedly driving down an airport runway crashed into the Delta-Mendota Canal, killing passenger Mikael Strid.

Rode-Olsen was driving his BMW in excess of 100 mph when he ran out of runway, said Tracy Police Department traffic officer Vince Weyant. He said Rode-Olsen apparently lost focus on where he was on the runway and ran off the tarmac, going too fast to stop.

Weyant said once Rode-Olsen left the asphalt, he entered the dirt and gravel of the perimeter fence. He said on the west side of the fence there is a slight incline prior to the canal — based on angle, Weyant said, the BMW launched into the air, traveling 115 feet. The car landed on its nose and flipped over the road just east of the canal, ending up in the water, Weyant concluded.

Riding in the car with Rode-Olsen were Strid and fellow Swedish pilots Andreas Johansson and Andreas Olsen. The men were part of a group of five Swedish pilots renting aircraft from SkyView to expand their flight hours. The group had attended a birthday party at SkyView with Rode-Olsen, who is SkyView’s chief operating officer, a few hours prior to the incident.

Three of the men escaped the swift-moving waters of the canal, including Rode-Olsen. But since Strid never emerged, authorities ruled him as a drowning victim. His body was recovered from the canal March 10.

On Wednesday, March 21, Rode-Olsen was back in Manteca Superior Court for further arraignment, but his hearing was continued to April 19 at 1:30 p.m. in Manteca. Outside the court house, his attorney, Albert Ellis said the delay was due to numerous police reports still coming into his office regarding the case.


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