According to Navy Times, the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee was parked on the side of a highway when a California Highway Patrol officer stopped to check on the vehicle and its two occupants. It's then that the driver took off, driving erratically and on the wrong side of the road. Police wisely called off the ground pursuit at this point, but kept the Jeep in sight with the help of a helicopter.
Perhaps hoping to elude the police chopper, the Jeep driver got off the freeway and made for the restricted airspace of Naval Air Station Lemoore. That's like deciding you'd rather be mauled by a lion than stalked by a kitten – it's a miracle the driver and passenger weren't fired on then and there. What's more amazing, though, is that the Jeep was able to get seven miles into the base before colliding with a parked F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Jeep's passenger was killed instantly in the crash, while the driver later died at a local hospital. The Jeep struck the Hornet's horizontal stabilizer, but the Navy hasn't released any additional information on the fighter's condition.
The Navy, for its part, recognizes the danger posed by this incident. If your average Californian driver can careen through the base's gates, so could a suicide bomber in a vehicle laden with explosives. That'd be bad news for the Navy – NAS Lemoore houses four carrier air wings, and is one of only three of master jet bases.
"Regardless of procedures we have in place, something went wrong and we had a tragic accident," base commander Capt. Monty Ashliman told Navy Times. "We have got to figure out a way to prevent that from happening in the future."