Hey, Remember That Viral Video Where an Airplane Crashed on the 405?

Today's crash-landing reminds us of a viral video in the days before YouTube ... yes, it was possible.

Today’s crash landing of a small airplane on California’s 405 freeway reminded me of a video I first saw all the way back in the year 2000. Titled simply 405, the short movie involved a commercial airliner making an emergency landing on the empty 405—empty, that is, except for a lone Jeep Grand Cherokee that apparently didn’t get the memo. 

The driver’s eyes go wide when he sees the descending airliner in his mirrors. Then, rather than pulling over, he inexplicably decides to floor it, attempting to outrun an airliner capable of 600 MPH, in his Grand Cherokee. Naturally, this doesn’t work, and the airliner ends up ramming the Jeep with its nose gear, which then collapses and causes the Jeep to replace it. The airliner/Jeep combo passes an old lady hogging the left lane, then eventually comes to a safe stop. Not long after the old lady passes, telling the Jeep driver he is number one using her middle finger.

The movie is only three minutes long, most likely because videos had to be downloaded rather than streamed back then. There is no time to investigate why the Jeep or the old lady was on the closed 405, why the Jeep didn’t pull over, or why the airliner landed on the 405 rather than an airport. Another relic of the era is the computer-generated special effects, which, today, look like they came straight out of Microsoft Flight Simulator X. But they are quite good given the technology at the time, and the computer-generated Jeep Grand Cherokee was accurate, as well. Like most action movies, it’s highly unrealistic yet still entertaining. It also foretold the future when computer graphics would make all kinds of impossible movie scenes appear as though they really happened. And sometimes, like today’s crash on the 405, fiction can become fact.