Trooper sentenced in crash that killed 4 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Trooper sentenced in crash that killed 4

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A former Nevada state trooper was sentenced Tuesday to two to 12 years in state prison for an on-duty crash that killed four Mexican immigrants and badly injured a pregnant teen. Joshua Corcran, 28, pleaded guilty in June to five counts of felony reckless driving in the Feb. 19 crash. He did not stand trial. Authorities said Corcran was speeding at 113 mph and not on an emergency call when his Nevada Highway Patrol cruiser slammed into the back of a Cadillac traveling 52 mph on Interstate 15 just south of Las Vegas. The speed limit was 65 mph.

Pilot killed in crash was Davis man

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – The pilot killed in a crash just after takeoff at Lake Tahoe Airport on Sunday afternoon has been identified as Dr. Casey William Daggett, 41, of Davis. Daggett was dead at the scene of the 1 p.m. crash, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. An autopsy is planned and an investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, said sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell. Daggett recently bought the Cessna 150 involved in the crash, and it’s not known how experienced he was regarding high altitude take-offs in that type of airpcraft, Lovell said. The fixed-wing, single-engine plane quickly experienced trouble after takeoff and went down between the runway and the Upper Truckee River, said Marty Scheuerman, South Lake Tahoe Fire division chief of operations. “It looks like he banked hard and came down just east of the airport,” Scheuerman said. The pilot was dead at the scene, Scheuerman said. His name was withheld pending notification of next-of-kin. Daggett was the lone occupant of the plane; emergency personnel searched the area but found no other passengers or victims, Lovell said. Lake Tahoe resident James Wilson said he was hanging out with his girlfriend by the river and ran over to the aircraft after the crash to help. “We heard the plane crash, my girlfriend thought it was a car crash. I said ‘no it was a plane,’” Wilson said. “Forty-five seconds after the crash, we heard screaming and yelling from a guy who actually saw the plane crash and I took off across the river, ran across the field. The guy tried to pull (the pilot’s) body halfway out of the plane and could not get it out. Fuel was dumping all over. … I thought there was a fire that was going to start.” Wilson said the pilot’s legs were stuck and he helped the other man get the body out of the plane. The plane did not catch fire in the crash, Scheuerman said. Firefighters used absorbent material to clean up two to three gallons of spilled aviation gas, and the fuel did not get into water or critical habitat, Scheuerman added. The cause of the crash remained under investigation. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the crash site Sunday afternoon. South Lake Tahoe and Lake Valley firefighters responded to the scene, as well as officers from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Bill Schroeder, a master certified flight instructor who was at the crash scene Sunday afternoon, said there are important factors that pilots might overlook when taking off in Tahoe. He said pilots have to be aware that Tahoe is at an altitude where the air is thinner. Also, pilots don¹t always calculate the weight of the plane and are not aware that the winds are different in Tahoe than they are in Sacramento and the Bay area. “Any one of these things the pilot has to be aware of when they take off to fly,” “Those are things pilots have to consider here, those are things that can have an effect on the aircraft performance,” Schroeder said. “Pilots have to be aware of those things. It is very important.” Schroeder added that he does not know if any of those factors contributed to the crash, but are common errors that affect a plane’s performance.

Fallen soldier remembered

FERNLEY – Shortly after he enlisted in the military in 1989, Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart finished training on helicopter repair and would eventually become a flight technician. “He loved it,” said his father, Steve Stewart. “As a flight engineer, he got to do what he loved. All he wanted to do was fly.” But while Stewart’s family and friends are still coming to terms with the news of his death Sunday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, his wife, Roberta, said she finds at least a little solace knowing that he died doing what he loved best – flying. Stewart, 34, and fellow Nevada Guardsman CW3 John Michael Flynn, 36, were among five soldiers killed in the crash. Both Stewart and Flynn were in Company D, 113th Aviation of the Nevada Army National Guard based in Stead. The five soldiers died when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed Sunday morning near the Daychopan district in southern Zabul. The chopper was part of a convoy of aircraft in the area, and military officials said other pilots did not see it come under fire. An investigation into the crash’s cause is still being conducted. Stewart, a CH-47 repair technician, was an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Army Reserve and the Nevada National Guard. He served in Operation Desert Storm and also at Fort Sill, Okla., and Camp Humphries, Korea. Roberta Stewart said she knew Flynn and that the families in her husband’s company could be described as “very tight knit.” “This hurts all of us,” she said Tuesday, surrounded by family and friends in her Fernley home. “I’m proud of my husband because he was an extraordinary man and an extraordinary father. He gave 100 percent with everything he did.” Patrick Stewart also leaves behind a 15-year-old son, Raymond, who lives in Texas, and a 12-year-old adopted daughter, Alexandria, who is in the process of being adopted into the Stewart family. After he was deployed to Afghanistan in March, Roberta said Patrick made it a point to call her as much as he could. When a telephone wasn’t available, he would often resort to e-mail. “When he was fortunate enough to call, he always shared everything with me,” she said. “He would let me know where he was and how he was doing.” Steve Stewart said he knows he will have a tough time adjusting to his son not being with him, but he will try to focus on the positive memories he has of Patrick. “I think he had an attitude that was always very positive and he was always a hard worker,” his father said. “He had a good time and liked joking and he was very supportive of his team. For those who knew him, we need to hang on to those fond memories.” Roberta said she has many of those fond memories of her husband, whom she had been married to for nearly two years. Their second wedding anniversary would have been in November. “My husband was hysterical,” she said. “He was one of the few people who could keep me laughing all the time. He’s always been a hero in my eyes and I hope he’ll be a hero all around.” She said the two last spoke on the phone Saturday afternoon – the day before Patrick died. According to Roberta, Patrick sounded like he was in good spirits and had just bought some gifts for her in Afghanistan. “I asked him what he bought and said I wouldn’t know and I’d have to wait,” Roberta said with a smile. But the last words she ever heard from her husband summed up exactly what she and Patrick felt about each other. “I said, ‘Be safe,’” Roberta remembered. “He said, ‘I will. And I love you.’”

STHS golfers swinging for state

Only four strokes separate the South Tahoe High girls golf team from advancing to the state tournament for the first time. In Monday’s Northern Nevada 4A regional tournament first round, the Vikings put themselves in solid position, posting the fourth-best score out of eight teams at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Carson City. The Vikings trail third-place Carson City 526-522 with the final 18 holes scheduled today. Only the top three teams advance to state, unlike previous years when four teams qualified. “They really realize they can do it now, so they’re really psyched,” said STHS fourth-year coach Marsha Butler. “This would be the first time any golf team at South Tahoe has gone to state, so we’re really proud of those girls.” Galena is firmly in control of the team title, leading at the halfway mark with 449 strokes. Fallon is second at 508. Carson and STHS have some cushion from the schools hoping to emerge from the middle of the pack: Reno is fifth at 544, followed by Elko at 551, McQueen at 554 and Reed at 572. Kalotina Manos and Deedee Crist helped put STHS in striking position with rounds of 92 and 98, respectively. Manos fired an 8-over-par 44 on the front side en route to the fifth-best score of the afternoon and early evening. Luxchmi Gill of Galena leads with an 8-over-par 80. Also contributing to the Vikings’ fourth-place standing were Jacy Gleave, 107; Kylie Novasel, 113; Holly Young, 116 and Samantha Urch, 132. Young’s score was particularly important since she replaced the team’s third-best scorer Lauren Dewing before the tournament. Dewing was injured in a car crash last month – torn knee cartilage leaving her unable to play. “Holly really came through for us,” Butler said. Final-round action begins at 10 a.m. today. “They’re really into it. They were all saying, ‘Everybody take off two strokes (today),” Butler said.

STHS golfers swinging for state

Only four strokes separate the South Tahoe High girls golf team from advancing to the state tournament for the first time. In Monday’s Northern Nevada 4A regional tournament first round, the Vikings put themselves in solid position, posting the fourth-best score out of eight teams at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Carson City. The Vikings trail third-place Carson City 526-522 with the final 18 holes scheduled today. Only the top three teams advance to state, unlike previous years when four teams qualified. “They really realize they can do it now, so they’re really psyched,” said STHS fourth-year coach Marsha Butler. “This would be the first time any golf team at South Tahoe has gone to state, so we’re really proud of those girls.” Galena is firmly in control of the team title, leading at the halfway mark with 449 strokes. Fallon is second at 508. Carson and STHS have some cushion from the schools hoping to emerge from the middle of the pack: Reno is fifth at 544, followed by Elko at 551, McQueen at 554 and Reed at 572. Kalotina Manos and Deedee Crist helped put STHS in striking position with rounds of 92 and 98, respectively. Manos fired an 8-over-par 44 on the front side en route to the fifth-best score of the afternoon and early evening. Luxchmi Gill of Galena leads with an 8-over-par 80. Also contributing to the Vikings’ fourth-place standing were Jacy Gleave, 107; Kylie Novasel, 113; Holly Young, 116 and Samantha Urch, 132. Young’s score was particularly important since she replaced the team’s third-best scorer Lauren Dewing before the tournament. Dewing was injured in a car crash last month – torn knee cartilage leaving her unable to play. “Holly really came through for us,” Butler said. Final-round action begins at 10 a.m. today. “They’re really into it. They were all saying, ‘Everybody take off two strokes (today),” Butler said.

Two killed in single-engine plane crash in South Lake Tahoe (updated)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A small plane crashed around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, in a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood near Pioneer Trail and the Lake Tahoe Airport. Officials on scene reported two fatalities. Both were in the plane at the time of the crash. No one on the ground was injured. Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators are expected to start their investigation of the crash Sunday, Oct. 11. The El Dorado County coroner's office will be on site Sunday to assist in the investigation. Names of the crash victims have yet to be released. The crash site is located at 1650 Tionontati Street. On-scene witnesses said the aircraft clipped the top of a tree before striking the ground near a residence. Portions of a nearby home caught fire as a result of the crash. Fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Valley and South Lake Tahoe fire departments and Cal Fire all responded to the blaze, along with members of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. One witness reported sizable flames visible from Pioneer Trail as he passed by shortly after the crash. Fire crews were able to contain the fire in a short period of time. Sheriff's Office officials remained on scene overnight to oversee crash site. A portion of the plane's tail broke off during the crash and remained stuck in a tree after the fire. One residence substantial scorch marks on the exterior of the building as a result of the crash. There appeared to be no structural damage to the building. Portions of the roof of the residence were also damaged. The fire was contained within a roughly half-acre of a heavily treed property. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer told the Associated Press that the plane was a Beech 35 Bonanza — a four to six seat single-engine aircraft. Kenitzer said the plane crashed shortly after take-off from the Lake Tahoe Airport.

Seedlings to be given away today

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the University of California Cooperative Extension will hold a native Jeffrey pine seedling giveaway from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden at Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive, South Lake Tahoe. Home-landscaping guides, “Living With Fire” guides, packets of wildflower seeds and free landscaping materials from Tahoe Sand and Gravel also are among the giveaways at the event. The U.S. Forest Service has donated 850 seedlings to give away to homeowners affected by the Angora fire. If your property was affected by the Angora fire, you also can sign up to receive up to $500 of native vegetation and receive $1 per square foot for planting water-efficient landscaping. For more information on the plant giveaway and vegetation plans, contact the Tahoe Resource Conservation District hotline at (530) 543-1501, ext. 113, or Susie Kocher at (530) 542-2571.

South Lake Tahoe plane crash investigation in ‘early stages’

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials are continuing their investigation of Saturday's [Oct. 10] single-engine plane crash near Lake Tahoe Airport. A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board said the organization is currently in the "very early stages" of its analysis. National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials were at the crash site Sunday, Oct. 11, and reportedly completed their initial on-scene assessment of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to gather facts regarding the incident. NTSB spokesman said investigations typically take up to a year to conclude. As of Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 13, the El Dorado County Coroner's Office had not released the identities of the two crash victims. The crash is the fourth fatal incident of its kind involving a single-engine aircraft near Lake Tahoe Airport since 2009. Previous National Transportation Safety Board accident reports of other incidents cited trouble with compensating for altitude, proper air/fuel mixtures and mechanical failure. A fifth non-fatal crash involved high winds. A cause for Saturday's crash has yet to be determined. The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday in a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood near Pioneer Trail and Lake Tahoe Airport. "We were standing in our living room having a conversation," South Lake Tahoe resident Stacey Ramirez said. She and her husband, William, live three houses down from the crash site and were at home at the time of the incident with their 9-year-old son. "We heard the plane come in very low, which is not unusual," she said, explaining their close proximity to Lake Tahoe Airport. "It was horrible noise," Ramirez explained when describing the metallic sound of the crash. "We were thinking that something happened down on Pioneer with a motorcycle or a truck. It didn't really click that it was a [plane] crash." Officials on scene reported two fatalities. Both were in the plane at the time of the crash. No one on the ground was injured. The single engine Beech 35 Bonanza crashed shortly after takeoff, killing the pilot and a passenger. The crash site is located at 1650 Tionontati St. On-scene witnesses said the aircraft clipped the top of a tree before striking the ground near a residence. Portions of a nearby two-story vacation property caught fire as a result of the crash. A portion of the plane's tail broke off during the crash and remained stuck in a tree after the fire. The vacation property had substantial scorch marks on the exterior of the building as a result of the crash. There appeared to be no structural damage to the building. Portions of the roof of the residence were also damaged. The fire was contained within a roughly half-acre of a heavily treed property. According to the Associated Press, Ginger Nicolay-Davis, a real estate agent who manages the vacation home, said two guests were in the home at the time of the crash with their dog and escaped safely. "They were sitting there relaxing in the living room and they heard what sounded like a tree had fallen," Nicolay-Davis told the AP. "They assumed a tree had taken out a power line." The Associated Press also reported that one of the guests in the home was San Francisco playwright Rod McFadden. He was in town for a festival in South Lake Tahoe. Both guests went back to San Francisco following the crash. Nicolay-Davis described the fire damage to the home as significant. Fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Valley and South Lake Tahoe fire departments and Cal Fire all responded to the blaze, along with members of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. One witness reported sizable flames visible from Pioneer Trail as he passed by shortly after the crash. Fire crews were able to contain the fire in a short period of time. Ramirez estimated that the fire was out by 6:30 p.m. and commended local response. Sheriff's Office officials remained on scene overnight Saturday to oversee the crash site until Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials arrived. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer confirmed the two fatalities and aircraft model — typically a six-seat single-engine aircraft. Combined with the three previous incidents, there have been nine plane crash fatalities near the Lake Tahoe Airport since 2009. A 2012 crash killed five people on board. A 2013 incident killed the pilot, but included one survivor. El Dorado County Coroner's Office said there was no timeline for the release of the victims' names. Due to the condition of remains, dental records will need to be used for identification. This story first ran online Saturday. It was updated Sunday, then again Tuesday. Visit http://www.tahoedailytribune.com for breaking news.

Investigators en route to air tanker crash in Reno

An air tanker that crashed killing all three crew members had made one drop of retardant on a fire south of Lake Tahoe earlier in the day and was en route to another incident when it went down shortly after take off from an airport north of Reno, officials said Tuesday. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at Reno-Stead airport by midmorning to begin searching for clues into the crash, officials said. The P2V twin-engine plane owned by Neptune Aviation of Missoula, Mont. had made one flight over the Burnside fire south of Lake Tahoe on Monday morning before it returned to the airport, said Marnie Bonesteel, a spokeswoman with the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators. The plane remained at the airport through the day and was being sent to another fire in California when it went down, she said. “They were fully fueled and did have a full load of retardant as well,” Bonesteel said. Witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be a piece of engine or wing fall from the aircraft before it caught fire and crashed about a half-mile from the runway, authorities said. Names of the victims were withheld until relatives could be notified. Neptune Aviation officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The crash sparked a two-acre brush fire that was quickly extinguished, officials said. Washoe County sheriff’s deputies cordoned off the site overnight and were awaiting the arrival of federal investigators. It marked at least the third time a P2V owned by Neptune suffered a fatal crash while fighting wildfires on government contract over the past 15 years. Two men were killed when one crashed near Missoula in 1994 and two other men died in a crash near Reserve, N.M., in 1998. The Burnside fire in California’s scenic Hope Valley forced the evacuation of campgrounds, two mountain retreats and about 20 homes on Sunday. Evacuation orders were lifted Monday afternoon, and the fire, estimated at 200 acres, was 50 percent contained Tuesday.

Northern Nevada Guardsmen die in Afghanistan crash

RENO (AP) – Two veteran soldiers from northern Nevada – one from Sparks and one from Fernley – were among five killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, military officials said Monday. Chief Warrant Officer John M. Flynn, 36, Sparks, and Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, 35, Fernley, both were in Company D, 113th Aviation Unit of the Nevada Army National Guard based in Stead. The five soldiers, including two from Oregon and one from Arizona, died when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed Sunday morning near Daychopan district in the rugged, mountainous, southern Zabul province, according to the military. “There is no indication at this time that this is a result of hostile fire,” U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara said. Flynn, a pilot and instructor, joined the Nevada Guard in 1988. Stewart, a repair technician who had been in the Nevada Guard for 11 years, also served in Desert Storm, military officials said. “When something like this happens, it hits right at home,” Brig. Gen. Randall Sayre told reporters Monday at the Stead base north of Reno. “It’s not just a byline in the newspaper. It’s not somebody from someplace else. It’s one of our own,” he said. Lt. Col. Bob Harington said it is “a very personal matter for everyone in our guard community.” “The guard is a family of soldiers, if you will,” he said. “We tend to stay in units for a long time. I would say the majority of the unit has known at least one of them for a number of years,” he said. O’Hara said the chopper was part of a convoy of aircraft in the area and other pilots did not see it come under fire. “We are just taking a hard look at this investigation to see exactly what did cause the crash. It could be mechanical (failure),” he said. Capt. April Conway of the Nevada Army National Guard said she first heard of the incident when a guardsman’s mother called her at 7 a.m. After several calls to the unit headquarters in Afghanistan, state officials confirmed the deaths about 11 a.m., she said. “We had a difficult time reaching them, because of an information blackout imposed when there are casualties,” she said. Gov. Kenny Guinn expressed his sympathy. “I am very saddened to learn of the death of our Nevada soldiers today in Afghanistan,” he said Sunday. “Losing any members of the Nevada National Guard is tragic, but having two members killed in one incident is even more so. Nevada’s own have served with great distinction in Afghanistan and Iraq, and most recently in service to the victims of hurricane Katrina.” The deaths bring to 195 the number of U.S. military service members killed in and around Afghanistan since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001, including 79 this year during an upsurge in violence that has left some 1,300 people dead since March. Daychopan is about 180 miles southwest of the capital, Kabul, and has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting with Taliban rebels. Purported Taliban spokesman Mullah Latif Hakimi called the Associated Press and claimed rebels had shot down the helicopter, though he offered no evidence to back up his claim. “Our men were standing on top of a mountain when the helicopter passed and we shot it,” he said. Information from Hakimi in the past has sometimes proven exaggerated or untrue and his exact tie to the Taliban leadership cannot be verified independently.