Five Tulsans Killed In Chandler Park Plane Crash

Saturday, September 5th 2009, 11:55 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Five Tulsans were killed when their plane struck a guideline on a communications tower and crashed into Chandler Park Saturday morning. Dead are Dr. Stephen Lester, 48, his wife Dana, 48, and their daughters Laura, 16 and Christina, 13.

Also killed was Dr. Kenneth Veteto, 50, of Tulsa, a family friend. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.

The group was on its way to see the OU Sooners play in Dallas when the plane went down at about 10:45 a.m. Heavy morning fog caused "almost zero visibility," contributing to the crash, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

Witnesses on the scene heard a loud noise - a big pop - before the plane crashed into the field. After tumbling into the field, the small plane broke into several pieces and caught fire. Two victims were ejected, and three remained in the plane, according to witness accounts.

Mike Walker was hosting a biker rally inside the Chandler Park when the plane went down.

"I heard a screeching noise and didn't know what it was," he said. "I looked over, and next thing you hear an explosion and a fireball shot across the sky."

Chandler Park Crash

The plane was headed to Dallas Love Field from Jones Riverside Airport just after 10:30 a.m., according to Brown. The plane was a single-engine, six-seater Piper passenger plane.

"Upon impact the plane caught fire, the wings detached and the body of the plane flipped end-over-end an unknown number of times before coming to rest in an upright condition," the OHP report states.

The National Transportation Safety Board will now take over the investigation.

Chandler Park is located at 6500 W. 21st St. The plane crashed at the back of the park near a maintenance building.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Tulsa police and fire and Berryhill fire responded to the scene.