AP – The father of the jet engine-powered semitruck driver killed during a performance at a southwestern Michigan air show is blaming the explosion on a mechanical failure.
The accident happened Saturday during a race between the Shockwave Jet Truck and two airplanes at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival. Springfield, Missouri-based Darnell Racing Enterprises said the custom-built jet truck reaches speeds topping 350 mph and races at air shows across North America.
Police said 40-year-old Chris Darnell was driving the truck at the time of the accident and died from his injuries. Neal Darnell said the accident occurred “as a result of a mechanical failure on the jet truck.”
Driver killed in jet powered semi crash had ties to Joplin
KSNF/KODE – The driver of a triple jet powered semi-truck, known as SHOCKWAVE, was killed this Independence Day weekend, in what authorities are calling a “horrific accident” that occurred during a performance at an air show in Michigan.
That driver of “the world’s fastest jet powered truck” was Chris Darnell, a graduate of Missouri Southern State University who called southwest Missouri, home.
In a post published Saturday night (7/2) on the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck Facebook page, Chris Darnell’s father, Neal Darnell said the following:
“During today’s SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck performance at the Battle Creek ‘Field of Flight’ Airshow, an accident occurred as a result of a mechanical failure on the Jet Truck. Regretfully, Chris Darnell, the driver and my youngest son, passed away from his injuries at approximately 1:01 p.m. No one else was involved. I will post more information as we get it. We will provide Funeral Arrangements sometime this week. 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.”Neal Darnell – Father of Chris Darnell
THE “HORRIFFIC ACCIDENT”
The accident occurred on July 2nd in Battle Creek, Michigan, as the truck was speeding down a runway at the Battle Creek Executive Airport, while two aircraft were performing low-flying aerial stunts, just above the truck.
In the video of the accident, which you can see HERE, the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck raced through or by an explosion, and seemed to be in flames, generating a stream of smoke and debris.
Battle Creek, Michigan police, currently investigating the incident, said one of their priorities is to clear up some uncertainty surrounding whether the initial explosion of flames, which produced a cloud of black smoke, was a component of the annual Battle Creek Field of Light Air Show and Balloon Festival.
The event advertised on the Field of Flight Air Show website mentions that it will involve “pyro and the WALL OF FIRE.”
Further details involving the crash will come from the official investigation by the Battle Creek, Michigan Police Department, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration.
CHRIS DARNELL – “Living The Dream“
Based in Springfield, Missouri, SHOCKWAVE is owned by Darnell Racing Enterprises, Inc. and their jet powered semi-trucks were driven/piloted by Chris Darnell.
On their website, under the “About Us” section, you’ll find a short biography about Chris Darnell.
According to the website biography, Darnell, who spent his entire life participating in racing, was the driver/pilot for both the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck and the FLASH FIRE Jet Truck.
He also had a significant amount of expertise in the Motorsports Promotion industry.
Over the years, Darnell participated in a wide range of racing events, including drag racing, circle track racing and more.
Darnell graduated MSSU in Joplin, Missouri with a degree in marketing, advertising, and promotions.
Darnell also owned a truck accessory business in Springfield called 4 Wheel Customs, in addition to operating the fastest trucks in the world in drag racing and air shows.