AGENCY: Bombing survivor's plane crash deliberate

Thursday, May 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma City bombing survivor deliberately crashed his airplane nearly three years ago, resulting in his death, federal investigators have concluded.

In a final report signed May 8, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that Laurence Martin, a former U.S. Army recruiter in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, intentionally flew his plane into the ground on Oct. 11, 1998.

Martin, 41, retired from the military after the bombing and was a fifth-grade teacher in Edmond.

Investigators concluded that Martin was upset over rejection of a marriage proposal by his girlfriend, who was attending services in a church near the crash site that evening.

Cindy Coursey said she didn't reject Martin's proposal. Coursey said she and Martin just decided to wait to get married.

She said she believes the crash was caused by a stall that forced Martin to point the nose of the airplane toward the ground to regain speed. Martin was only 200 to 300 yards above the ground at the time of the stall and couldn't recover, she said.

She refused to talk to investigators after other pilots told her the agency ``twists the truth,'' Coursey said.

Investigators said they found no engine or mechanical problems with the rented plane.

The report also said a toxicology test showed traces of Valium in Martin's kidney and liver tissue. An earlier report said Martin likely took the Valium to ease chronic back pain from bombing injuries.

Witnesses said Martin taxied too fast before taking off from Wiley Post Airport. The owner of the rented plane asked the control tower to tell Martin to return to the airport.