SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Chris Darnell, 40, a driver for a Springfield-based jet truck company, died in a crash at a Michigan air show Saturday, July 2.
“We are so sad,” wrote Chris Darnell’s father, Neal Darnell, in a Facebook post on the Shockwave page. “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.”
Visitors at the air show looked on as Chris Darnell raced two airplanes in a Shockwave Jet Truck down a runway at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival in Battle Creek, Michigan. The race was part of a pyrotechnics portion of the show, according to the Battle Creek Police Department. Chris Darnell was driving a truck outfitted with a jet engine when it appeared to malfunction. According to witnesses and video, there was an explosion and a fire from the truck. Several organizations are investigating the incident to determine what happened.
Neal Darnell wrote that the accident occurred as a result of a mechanical failure on the jet truck.
Chris Darnell shared driving duties for the Flash Fire and Shockwave jet trucks with his father. He was heavily involved in motorsports and attended college at Missouri State University. He was the owner of 4 Wheel Customs, another Springfield-based company.