Eric Alexander Rode-Olsen, 30, is accused of crashing his BMW into the Delta-Mendota Canal just west of the Tracy Municipal Airport on Feb. 23, killing one of his passengers, 23-year-old Swedish pilot Mikael Strid.
Rode Olsen appeared out of custody Thursday, accompanied by SkyView owner Richard Ortenheim.
During the hearing, defense attorney Albert Ellis told the court his client wanted to waive his right to a preliminary hearing. He also requested that the case be relocated to Stockton.
The judge granted Ellis’ requests, and the case will be continued in Stockton at 8:30 a.m. May 3 in Department 35.
Ellis said outside the courthouse that the reason he waived the preliminary hearing is because he didn’t think the defense would glean any more information. He said it’s not a case where many facts will be disputed.
“It’s a tragedy for everyone involved,” Ellis said. “We will be looking for a way to ultimately resolve it.”
According to police, Rode-Olsen had been driving west at a high rate of speed down the east-west runway at the airport around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 23.
Investigators say he was carrying Swedish pilots Strid, Andreas Johansson and Andreas Olsen as passengers. Police reported the car crashed through a chain link fence and launched off a levee, flipping into the canal.
Three of the men escaped the rushing waters, but Strid’s body was not recovered from the canal until March 10.