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

It's unclear whether the THC found in Steffan's system actually played a role in the crash.
It's unclear whether the THC found in Steffan's system actually played a role in the crash.
Submitted image of Dan Steffan via the Brainerd Dispatch

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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