Pilot who crashed plane into house had drugs in system

(NTSB photo)

POUGHKEEPSIE – The pilot of a plane that crashed into a Union Vale house in August of 2019 had cocaine in his system, according to documents obtained by Mid-Hudson News.  The crash killed the pilot and a resident of the house.  Two other passengers of the plane survived.

The autopsy of 65-year-old attorney and pilot, Francisco “Frank” Knipping-Diaz of Woodmere was performed by the Dutchess County Office of the Medical Examiner.  The findings, according to the National Traffic Safety Board report, list the cause of death as “thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.” A contributing cause of death was “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified traces of cocaine in the pilot’s urine. The FAA laboratory also reported benzoylecgonine, an inactive cocaine metabolite, in his iliac blood and urine. Ecgonine methyl ester, a minor inactive metabolite of cocaine, was detected in the pilot’s blood and urine. Anhydroecgonine methyl ester, a pyrolysis product of smoked crack cocaine, was detected in the pilot’s urine.

Knipping Diaz and two passengers, Eduardo Tio, 50, of Woodmere and Teofilio Antonio Diaz Pratt of the Dominican Republic, had flown from Long Island to the Orange County Airport on August 17, 2019.  The trip was made so that Knipping-Diaz could meet with a client of his being held at the Orange County Jail.  After the Orange County meeting, the trio flew to Sky Acres Airport in Union Vale to refuel before heading back to Long Island.

The plane left Sky Acres and crashed into a house at 235 South Smith Street.  The crash killed the pilot and the homeowner, 61-year-old Gerard Bocker, who was in the house.  Bocker’s 21-year-old daughter, Hannah, was home and sustained critical injuries.  Daughter Sarah Bocker, 30, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

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