BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — After a Missouri man died while driving a jet truck in the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, police say a blown tire caused the fiery crash.
Chris Darnell was performing at the show over the holiday weekend. His wife, Brooke, describes him as an amazing friend, husband and father.
"He's a legend," she says. "He's with us. He's given us so much strength already through this tragedy."
Chris was a longtime racer, joining his father's company, Shockwave Jet Truck, more than a decade ago.
"He's been racing all of his life, though. This is what he was supposed to do," Darnell says.
She says he was much more than just a performer.
"While Chris was performing, obviously, he was very loud. He was always on stage at airshows or drag races in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, but at home, he was Chris," Darnell says. "He is the most humble person you would ever meet. [He] lights up a room and is so welcoming. [He] treats everybody the same."
She says travelling with him and their daughters to shows across the country created some of her favorite memories.
"I mean, what other career can you take your family along and do that with? My kids met some of the coolest people," Darnell says. "Air shows and drag races were a huge part of his life. We were number one and we knew it. And watching him perform was breathtaking. Every time I watched him, I just sat in awe just at what he does."
She says her family will return to Battle Creek one day.
"Battle Creek was so good to my family. We left so much there, the hotel, the police officers, the firefighters. I mean, I'm still in shock of just how much people supported us there which I didn't know at the time that I needed so much," Darnell says.
She wants people to remember her husband by the pride he had in his work, his country and his family.
"Chris has created a legacy for us, but we weren't quite ready to live that," Darnell says. "I can guarantee you, me [and] our two girls will live it out to the absolute fullest."
A GoFundMe has been made to help the family at this time.
A full interview with Darnell can be found here:
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