Pilot Dan Steffen reportedly stoned at time of fatal Crosslake-area crash

Categories: Accidents
dansteffen.jpg
Submitted image of Dan Steffan via the Brainerd Dispatch
It's unclear whether the THC found in Steffan's system actually played a role in the crash.
Dan Steffen was probably stoned when he crashed his Skystar Kitfox 4 fixed-wing, single-engine plane into Upper Whitefish Lake in July 2012.

SEE ALSO: Dustin Calgaro charged with drunkenly flying aircraft over St. Cloud-area music festival

Steffen, 55, died. His lone passenger survived.

MPR, citing information from the National Transportation Safety Board, reports that the medical examiner found "drug paraphernalia" in Steffen's shirt pocket. Furthermore, toxicology results indicate he had THC in his system at the time of the crash.

The NTSB's investigation concluded that the plane was flying too slowly, causing it to stall and ultimately crash. In an interview conducted just days after the crash, Steffen's passenger, Frederick Hammer, guessed they were flying about 50 miles per hour about 800 to 1,000 feet in the air when Steffen tried to lower the plane so Hammer could shoot some photos.

"All of a sudden it pitched hard left and we went into a spiral, nose down," Hammer told the Brainerd Dispatch. "We didn't have time to say anything, it all happened so fast."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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10 comments
Mara Crystal
Mara Crystal

Why would you post something like this a year later, don't you think this family has been through enough? Tactless.

Beer Guy
Beer Guy

I'm not sure what the point of bringing this up is.

yeah
yeah

Bullshit. Everybody knows you can't crash a plane while high on marijuana. It's just a plant. 

Mark Edmo
Mark Edmo

Are you going to slander this mans reputation for fun...That is bullshit...

Cyndie Lind
Cyndie Lind

Since pot stays in your system for 30 days it's really not fair to say he was stoned at the time.

frankwalters1977
frankwalters1977

@Mara Crystal The results of NTSB reports for private aircraft fatalities are always reported in the news, and they take about a year to complete. 

altavista
altavista

You are referring to the metabolites of THC tested in urine.  In toxicology tests for THC done in an autopsy blood samples would have been tested.  In blood tests not only the presence of THC is detected, but also the amount.  It very accurately indicates whether the individual was under the influence of the drug.  Also, unlike alcohol. which metabolizes off over a matter of a few hours depending how much has been ingested, the "half-life" of marijuana is 48 hours.  That means that two days after the last use the person still is under the influence of the drug with 50% of the amount of active drug ingested still in the system.  It takes close to four days to fully clear the system, but the metabolites are going to show up for 30+ days in the urine and much lomger than that in hair.  Amazing how few people who like to smoke weed know this.  They are driving, going to jobs, trying to provide care for kids---All while having their perceptions distorted, judgment impaired and response time slowed.  I'm waiting to see what the implications and costs for public safety and public health are going to be in Washington and Colorado after legalizing weed.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Cyndie Lind You don't science, do you?

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