FAA officials said the single-engine Glastar, an experimental-type of plane built from a kit, had taken off from Buchanan Field Airport when it developed mechanical problems. ABC7 News learned the pilot then turned around to return to the airport, but lost altitude. The plane missed Highway 4, clipped a fence and skidded across four lanes of Marsh Drive before crashing into a stop light pole, just a few feet away from a car dealership.
The plane was registered to Snagwood Corporation out of Brentwood.
A couple that was in the middle of buying a car in the area was stunned to hear of the accident. "We were in the office getting ready to purchase the vehicle and our sales agent came in and said: 'a plane just crashed, come on out.' So, we came out and the plane was still running, actually," a woman said.
"A lot of fuel was on the ground with the plane still running like that, so I thought we should back up and not get too close, and then we saw an officer come in and shut the plane down," a man said.
An officer shut off the plane and there was no fire.
ABC7 News learned a bystander nearby pulled the pilot from the plane, and he was later taken to John Muir Medical Center in moderate condition. He was conscious and talking.
Officials said no one else was on board.
The plane managed not to strike any buildings, cars or people.
FAA and NTSB officials are working to investigate the cause of the crash.