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Skydiver drifts onto California highway, collides with semi-truck, sparks chain reaction in fatal mid-afternoon tragedy


A skydiver over Lodi, Calif., drifted over a busy highway Thursday afternoon, where she bounced off a southbound tractor-trailer and hit the pavement. The 28-year-old woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the Fresno Bee.

The fatality occurred on Highway 99 in northern California, near Skydive Lodi Parachute Center in Acampo. That is believed to have been the parachutist’s intended destination. Winds were blowing at 17 mph at the time of the incident, which was reportedly strong enough to prevent small planes from launching at the nearby Lodi airport.

A passerby who witnessed the aftermath of the crash told the Fresno Bee that the dead skydiver was visible on the shoulder of the road.

“I drove by and saw the truck pulling over. There was a body lying on the (pavement),” Rich Edwards said. “I saw a chute on the road and a bunch of people.”

ABC News reported the skydiver’s midday plummet triggered a chain reaction causing at least three other motorists to crash. Traffic delays lasted four hours following Thursday’s mishap, extending well into rush hour.

More than 20 people have died at the Lodi Parachute Center since 1981, according to the report. At least 17 deaths have been reported there over the past 20 years. The most recent female fatality was in Oct. 2018, when a 62-year-old jumper — said to have been using her own equipment — died after her chute failed to open.