Skydiver killed after veering off course, slamming into big rig on California highway

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Friday, September 27, 2019
Skydiver killed by big rig after landing on freeway near Lodi
A skydiver was struck and killed by a semi after accidentally landing on southbound State Route 99, near Lodi.

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, California (WPVI) -- A skydiver has died near Lodi, California where investigators say she veered off course and slammed into a semi-truck on Highway 99.

The deadly crash happened around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, stalling traffic on the highway for hours.

After colliding with the big rig, the woman was hit by at least one other vehicle.

The accident also caused a chain reaction of collisions with at least three other vehicles crashing behind the semi.

Officials say the 28-year old woman was jumping with the Lodi Parachute Center.

The Lodi Parachute Center, open since 1964, is no stranger to tragedy.

In October 2018, the center's owner Bill Dause, who has been in charge for nearly four decades, told ABC10 that he doesn't keep track of the total number of deaths, but he believes up to 18 people have died here since the year 2000.

"We have had a number of fatalities and I don't know the exact number," Dause said in 2018. "Each one has been totally unique. It's not like we've been doing the same thing wrong all the time, or the same parachute failed, or something like that."

Four suicides, two heart attacks, and a number of other issues have been attributed to the deaths. Dause said there is always a level of risk involved.