A National Transportation Safety Board report offers new details into the fatal collision between an airplane and a car traveling on Interstate 15 a year ago this month.
One person was crushed to death and five were injured when the single-engine, two-seat Lancair IV crashed into a car on I-15 near State Route 76 on April 2, 2016.
The collision happened on a Saturday morning just after 9 a.m. on the highway 50 miles north of downtown San Diego.
Dennis Hogge, 62, of Jamul and his wife Celeste Hogge suffered serious injuries in the crash. The couple had just taken off from Gillespie Field and were headed to French Valley Airport in the Murrieta/Temecula area.
After taking off everything was good and then Dennis Hogge told her “’This is not looking good,’” Celest told investigators according to documents released by the NTSB.
“I put my left arm around his shoulder and say, ‘We can do this baby,’” she told investigators
Dennis Hogge wrote in the preliminary accident report that the couple was heading to breakfast when the “engine stopped” moments after taking off.
He said he had “no memory” of the day of the crash but told investigators it appears he tried to land gear up to avoid running off the runway and flipping the plane.
However, he made a decision to land on the nearby highway.
“There were lots of people at field, so decided to land on freeway to avoid people on airstrip,” he wrote in the report.
When the plane made contact with the ground, the landing gear retracted, investigators said.
“The airplane slid for 272 feet, and there were no scars for another 308 feet until the airplane impacted the car. The two vehicles then moved another 100 feet together as a merged unit,” the NTSB report states.
Investigators said the probably cause for the plane's loss of engine power "could not be determined because examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation," according to the report.
At the time, California Highway Patrol officers said they learned from one witness that they didn't hear the engine of the plane.
Antoinette Frances Isbelle, 38, was sitting in the back passenger seat of a vehicle that had stopped on the shoulder of I-15. Isbelle was crushed to death at impact.
The driver of the vehicle had pulled over to sync his Bluetooth when the plane crash landed in the fourth lane of the freeway. The driver and two passengers were injured in the collision as well.