alacatr/iStock(LODI, Calif.) — A skydiver died after she crashed into the rear of a big rig trailer on a California highway, officials said.
The skydiver, who authorities identified as a 28-year-old woman, was out with a group around 2 p.m. Thursday when the fatal accident occurred on Highway 99 near Lodi, according to a statement from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The woman slammed into the right-hand shoulder of the southbound highway, near Jahant Road, just after she hit the truck, the statement read. It was not immediately clear what caused the incident.
“Due to those two impacts, due to the blunt force trauma, she was pronounced dead on scene,” CHP Officer Ruben Jones told ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV.
She and seven others were believed to have been skydiving with the Lodi Parachute Center, authorities told the station.
Bill Dause, the owner of the center, identified the woman only as Maria. Dause said at a press conference Friday she had 155 jumps under her belt and had been jumping at his center for the past two weeks.
When asked about the weather conditions that day, Dause said, “her decision to jump was a decision she made. She did not believe it was too windy for her to jump and since she is experienced, it was up to her discretion.”
Three other people have landed on Highway 99 during their jump, but Thursday’s incident was the first to result in a fatality, according to Dause.
It is not, however, the first death connected to the company.
“We have had a number of fatalities and I don’t know the exact number,” Dause said in October 2018, according to KXTV. “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.”
Dause said, at the time, he thought up to 18 people have died with his company since 2000, including four suicides, two heart attacks, and a number of other issues causing the deaths.
All southbound lanes on Highway 99 were closed for about an hour after the latest incident, according to CHP.
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