The circumstances of a plane crash on a North County freeway that killed a popular member of a local roller derby team is under investigation, according to officials.
This crash killed Antoinette Frances Isbelle, 38, of San Diego County, who was a member of the Starlettes roller derby team and skated under the nickname of ”Rockalicious,” according to several news reports. Tributes to Isbelle were pouring in Sunday on the San Diego Roller Derby Facebook page, along with a GoFundMe page to raise money for the funeral services.
Five others were hospitalized, but their conditions were not released by the hospitals yet. A preliminary report on the factors causing the plane crash should be released in about five days from National Transportation Safety Board, but it is expected to take up to a year to complete the investigation, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said.
“We are in the very, very early fact-gathering part of the investigation,” Williams said. “There has been no analysis yet, we are just gathering facts.”
The small plane that crashed into a car parked on the shoulder of Interstate 15 near Fallbrook on Saturday morning has been taken to Arizona where the NTSB can examine the remains, according to Williams.
“The on-scene initial review began yesterday, but we also want to examine things like the weather, the pilot’s record, maintenance records and other facts before we begin our analysis,” Williams said.
Dennis Hogge, 62, of Jamul was the pilot of the Lancair IV, single-engine low-wing plane and was one of the five who was hospitalized. The impact of the crash caused potentially fatal trauma to his head. His 50-year-old female passenger was hospitalized with less severe injuries and underwent surgery Saturday afternoon.
A driver called the California Highway Patrol at 9:15 a.m. Saturday and reported witnessing a plane landing on northbound I-15, just south of State Route 76, the CHP reported.
The 2015 Nissan Sentra 4-door sedan was parked on the shoulder of the freeway so the driver could sync his Bluetooth with the car. The plane skidded along the slow lane of the freeway and freeway shoulder for about 250 feet before crashing into the rear of the car, crushing Isbelle in the back seat. The three others in the car were hospitalized.
It was not the first time this plane made an emergency landing on the I-15. Former Major League Baseball player and Cardiff resident Matt Nokes, 53, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that he had to put the plane down on the same freeway in 2000 during the aircraft’s second flight. No one was injured in that incident.
Nokes told the paper he later sold the plane in a deal brokered by Hogge. A large number of people witnessed Saturday’s crash. Many of them reported not hearing anything that would indicate engine trouble, but said the way the plane was banking to the east, then to the west before hitting the ground indicated it was in some kind of trouble.
The Lancair IV is a homebuilt project aircraft with retracting landing gear that seats four including the pilot, and ceased production in 2012. It appeared from the crash scene that the landing gear had not been deployed, and Williams said that would also be part of the investigation.
FAA records indicate the aircraft was categorized as experimental, was amateur-built and that its FAA registry had expired.
— City News Service