Pilot Who Crashed Plane Into White House Recently Separated From Wife
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The man who crashed a small plane into the White House today had been distraught over the death of his father and the breakup of his marriage, according to relatives.
Frank Corder, 39, apparently stole a small plane early this morning from an airfield in Harford County north of Baltimore, flew it to Washington and crashed on the White House lawn just short of the mansion. He died in the crash.
John Corder, 41, said he hadn’t talked with his brother since he moved out of the Perry Point house he shared with his wife, Lydia, three weeks ago. The couple didn’t have any children.
Neighbors said they were a quiet couple who had moved to Perry Point about six weeks ago.
Frank Corder, who grew up in Aberdeen, had never been in trouble with police and didn’t hold strong political beliefs, John Corder said in a telephone interview from his Aberdeen home. A state police official confirmed that Corder didn’t have a police record.
John Corder said he couldn’t explain his brother’s actions today.
″To tell you the truth, I can’t explain it. I don’t know. It came as a real surprise to me,″ he said.
Other relatives said Corder had a drug problem and grew despondent after his father died of cancer last year and may have been committing suicide when he crashed onto the White House grounds.
″I think he just went to pieces,″ said Edith Dishman, Corder’s aunt. ″He did this to destroy himself.″
His first-cousin Dee George, of Havre de Grace, said Corder was also distraught over the separation from his wife.
″Frank has been down on drugs and alcohol before. He told me that sometimes ... he just wished he had a gun,″ she said.
But Ms. George said Corder seemed upbeat when she last saw him five days ago. She described him as a ″typical American Joe. He was a jeans and flannel shirt type of guy. He was real friendly. He’d talk to anybody he’d help anybody,″ she said.
Another brother, William Corder, told CBS that Frank was not a violent man and never expressed any complaints about President Clinton.
Corder had undergone alcohol detoxification at the Perry Point Veterans Hospital in Harford County, William Corder said.
James Ms. Brophy, associate director of hospital, confirmed that Corder had been a patient, but would not say when, for how long, or for what problem. Lydia Corder is a licensed practical nurse at the hospital, he said.
Corder, who drove a truck at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, lost his commercial driver’s license in April 1993 for 90 days following a conviction for driving while intoxicated, according to state records.
A Federal Aviation Administration official, who requested anonymity, said Corder held a student pilot’s license, which allowed him to fly solo.
Corder enlisted in the military in October 1974 and received an honorable discharge from the Army nine months later, according to U.S. Army records.