Jet truck driver, who performed a few weeks ago at Grand Forks Air Show, dies in Michigan mishap

Chris Darnell, 40, died after a jet-powered semitruck vehicle crashed during the Battlecreek Field of Flight Airshow Saturday in Battle Creek, Michigan.

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GRAND FORKS — The driver of a jet-powered semitruck died on Saturday after his vehicle crashed during the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Chris Darnell, 40, was driving a Shockwave Jet Truck when it raced through or by an explosion and appeared to be in flames, according to an NBC news article. It wasn't clear whether the first burst of flames was part of the show. The incident was caught on camera by attendees.

In a post on the Jet Truck Facebook page, Darnell's father, Neal Darnell, blamed mechanical failure for the cause of the accident.

"We are so sad. Just one month ago Chris turned 40," Darnell said in the post. "He was so well loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business."

Shockwave, a custom-built race truck owned by Darnell Racing Enterprises based in Springfield, Missouri, was one of the scheduled performances at the 2022 Northern Air and Space Expo at the Grand Forks Air Force Base on June 18. Despite high winds causing the cancellation of much of the show in Grand Forks, Shockwave was able to perform as planned.


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Callers, who were driving by the area, said they saw a person trapped underneath the UTV.

Related Topics: CRASHES
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or

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