Woman dies after plane crashes into car on I-15

Posted at 9:35 AM, Apr 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-03 14:35:48-04

A small plane crashed into a car parked on the shoulder of Interstate 15 in the Pala Mesa area of North County Saturday morning, killing a 38-year-old woman and sending five others to local hospitals, authorities said.

The North County Fire Protection District transported five patients, three to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and two to Sharp Memorial in Kearny Mesa.

Antoinette Frances Isbelle, 38, who was a passenger in the right rear seat of the car was pronounced dead at the scene, spokesman John Buchanan said.

The driver of the car was identified as Aaron Meccann, 42, or Escondido. The front-seat passenger was identified as Jason Soule, 43, of San Diego.

The pilot of the Lancair IV, single-engine low-wing plane, 62-year old Dennis Hogge, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries described as severe trauma to his head. The 50-year-old woman who was his passenger was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

A motorist called the California Highway Patrol at 9:15 a.m. and reported witnessing a plane landing on northbound I-15, just south of State Route 76, the CHP reported.

The Nissan 4-door sedan was parked on the shoulder of the freeway, Buchanan said. The plane skidded along the slow lane of the freeway for about 150 feet before crashing into the rear of the car, crushing the woman in the back seat.

It took firefighters about 25 minutes to extricate the woman in her 30s who was riding in the left rear passenger seat of the car. 

Firefighters were able to contain a fuel leak before it caught fire since they arrived on scene from their station located less than a mile from the crash, Buchanan said.

"It's amazing that there weren't more injuries," Buchanan said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials told first responders not to move the plane until they arrived to begin their investigation.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, according to Ian Gregor, public affairs manager of the FAA's Pacific Division.

A large number of people witnessed the crash, Buchanan said. Many of them reported hearing a sputtering engine before the plane went down.

John Marshall was driving on the I-15 when he saw the plane go down.

He pulled over, got out of his car, and ran to help those injured.

Marshall said there was a pilot and female passenger inside the plane. He and a couple other people tried to get the plane door open, but it was jammed.

Marshall got a hammer from his tool box in his car and "busted out the window" to help the pilot.

The two left lanes on the northbound side of the freeway remained open, but the CHP issued a SigAlert for the area at 10:30 a.m., warning motorists to stay away as traffic problems were expected to last for hours.

We will update this story as more details become available.