Tahoe plane crash kills Palo Alto man, injures wife

A Palo Alto man is dead and his wife hospitalized after their small plane crashed after taking off from Lake Tahoe Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told SFBay the  single-engine Mooney M20 crashed into woods near the airport around 11:15 a.m. Monday.

El Dorado County officials say the pilot was killed in the crash and identified him as 67-year-old Steven Lefton. He died at the scene.

His wife, Karen, survived the crash and was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Officials say she is being treated for what was described as moderate, but non life-threatening, injuries.

Witnesses say after the plane crashed into trees it flipped, and was found upside down.  It’s not known what caused the plane to go down, but at the time the weather was clear and winds were calm.

Representatives from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the crash scene to investigate.

Records show the plane was registered to Steven Lefton.  A four-seat aircraft built in 1963, the aircraft has a capacity of up to 12,499 pounds and a top speed of 127 miles per hour.