A small airplane taking off from a highway after making an emergency landing was struck by a car Tuesday and the pilot was killed, authorities said.

The plane, a Titan Tornado, had landed on an Interstate 40 ramp leading to U.S. 95, about 10 miles west of Needles, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.

Witnesses told the Federal Aviation Administration that the plane was taking off and was about 3 feet off the ground when the car slammed into it, spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Gregor described the plane as a homebuilt aircraft, classified as experimental.

Three people in the car suffered minor injuries when its windshield shattered, Miller said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Gregor said.

Needles is on the Colorado River in eastern San Bernardino County, about 220 miles east of Los Angeles.