DENVER, MARCH 17 -- The copilot of a commuter aircraft that crashed near Durango on Jan. 19, killing nine people, had a history of alcohol abuse dating to 1972, according to court records.
Ralph Darrell Harvey, who was killed in the crash, had been convicted twice of drunken-driving offenses, according to Arapahoe County criminal files.
Harvey, 42, was considered a problem drinker and had been ordered to attend two alcohol education and therapy programs, said John Toplenicky, chief deputy Arapahoe district attorney.
The Continental Express plane crashed near Durango, 350 miles southwest of Denver, killing both pilots and seven passengers. Eight passengers survived.
The backgrounds of the pilots have been under scrutiny since the National Transportation Safety Board disclosed finding traces of cocaine in the body of the pilot, Stephen S. Silver, 36, last week.
Authorities said Silver had used cocaine within 24 hours of the crash. But the NTSB does not know which man was flying the plane or why it crashed.
Federal Aviation Administration documents also show that Silver did not report convictions on eight traffic infractions he had in the four years before the crash. Federal law requires such disclosure. The traffic violations would not necessarily result in FAA sanctions, but failure to disclose them could result in revocation of a pilot's license, officials said.
Harvey had reported at least one drunken-driving conviction to the FAA.
Tom Byrne, an attorney representing Trans-Colorado Airlines, declined comment on Harvey's record.
Trans-Colorado, based in Colorado Springs, employed the crew and leased the plane to Rocky Mountain Airways, a Continental Airlines subsidiary that flies under the name of Continental Express.
Byrne said he did not know if the airlines knew of the pilot's background when Harvey was hired a few months before the crash.