TRACY (CBS13) — A man with three passengers lost control and drove his BMW into a canal late Thursday night, and one of the passengers is presumed dead after never re-emerging from the water.

Investigators say it appears 32-year-old Eric Olsen was on a Tracy Municipal Airport runway when he lost control of his BMW 328i, raced through the fence and then slammed the car in the Delta Mendota Canal just feet from the end of the runway at about 11:40 p.m..

olsen UPDATE: 1 Assumed Dead After Car Plunges Off Airport Runway Into Canal Near Tracy

Eric Rode Olsen

“Three people were able to escape from the canal and one occupant is still missing,” Tracy Police Sgt. Luis Mejia said.

Olsen and a pair of passengers managed to pull themselves out of the water. But one of their friends was left behind and presumed dead.

After crews pulled the car from the canal, police called in a special crew to help locate the missing man’s body.

They spent two hours Friday taking underwater pictures of the mile-and-half stretch of water.

Police say they found something where the canal meets Tracy Boulevard, but there was no immediate word if divers will recover what could be the remains of the missing passenger.

On Olsen’s Facebook page he lists his occupation as the chief operating officer at Sky View Aviation. A pilot at the airport tells CBS13 the car’s passengers are all flight school students with access to the runway.

Crime scene investigators took pictures inside the office. No one with the school wanted to answer questions from CBS13.

Police say the passenger who is presumed dead was visiting from Europe. His name hasn’t been released.

Olsen was arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter. Police are also investigating to see if alcohol was involved.

Comments (9)
  1. Johan Rödborg says:

    car full of Swedes. Well thats nice. Or not. I am ashamed of being Swedish in this kind of situation

    1. Tracy Pilot says:

      U should not be the dead person was a passenger this is a terrible accident that should not have happened they were just going to a friends hanger xcrossing the rwy when probably something mechanical happened to the car 328! BMW lets all pray for the departed soul and wait for the investigation. The driver of the car I can tell u is a very reponsible young man

    2. Lisa Immerdal says:

      It is real easy to get a Swedish passport these days. With it comes not only rights and privileges but many people think so. It is unbelievable what the man has done! I do hope he gets a long jail visit!

  2. Henrik says:


    This has nothing to do with nationality, as it is more of a case of a reckless, irresponsible person that wanted to show off.

    It is so sad that a person, most likely, had to die, before this person will be denied to fly, and exercise his pilot privileges. He will be shut out from the aviation community, but sadly, he will continue to drive a car after serving his sentence..

    Regards a Norwegian pilot..

  3. Tracy Pilot says:

    The gentleman Eric is a responsible young man it is just one of those things that happened.

    1. Lisa Immerdal says:

      Responsible? Then what the F was he doing on the RUNWAY????

  4. Tracy Pilot says:

    I knoe Eric from the airport I have never seen him do anything reckless
    he is a very quite person always willing to help people I feel very sad
    for all involved

  5. Tracy1 says:

    Eric is a kind and charitable young man. This is tragic for everyone at the airport. My heart goes out to the family of the young man who passed as well as to Eric.

  6. Maggie May says:

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