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Stunt Driver Dies in Jet Truck Crash at Air Show

Road & Track logo Road & Track 7/3/2022 Fred Smith
The driver was racing a plane when a mechanical failure led to a high-speed accident. © Shockwave Jet Truck / Facebook The driver was racing a plane when a mechanical failure led to a high-speed accident.

A jet truck lost control during a demonstration race at the Battle Creek air show in Michigan on Saturday, killing experienced driver Chris Darnell. No other injuries were reported.

Replay Video

The accident started with a mechanical failure, according to a statement from the team behind the truck. Video of the crash recorded by a spectator shows that failure starting just as the truck drives past a massive pyrotechnic explosion that had seemingly been set up as part of the show. In that moment, the truck sparks a large fire of its own before careening out of control. It then seems to roll over at speed.

In the same statement, Chris's father Neal added "we are so sad. Just one month ago Chris turned 40. He was so well loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business. He was 'Living the Dream' as he said."

Darnell had been driving the jet truck since 2012. The truck, called Shockwave, regularly eclipsed speeds of 300 mph in previous demonstrations and claimed the all-time speed record for a jet truck at 375 MPH. While it is not clear how fast the truck was going at the time of the crash, it was well down the runway when the crash occurred.

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