Airborne romance ends in arrests

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A flight that started with kisses and coos on Valentine's Day ended with a drive to jail for two Anchorage men and an Olympia, Wash., woman.

Flight attendants on Friday were caught in the middle of a budding relationship turned sour between Robert G. Radder and Dollie L. Drape on Alaska Air Flight 181 from Seattle to Anchorage. Gregory L. Alexander, another passenger, helped accommodate the romance at first but later erupted in anger, and now all three face federal charges of interfering with a flight crew, a felony.

The three were held over the weekend at Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility and made their first appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The attraction apparently was instantaneous between Radder and Drape at SeaTac International Airport, where they met that day, said Eric Gonzalez, FBI spokesman. The lure was so strong that the two asked to be seated together on the flight to Anchorage.

Alexander, 41, was seated next to Drape, so flight attendants asked him to change seats with Radder, Gonzalez said.

Radder, 26, and Drape, 29, began kissing and saying ''I love you'' and ''Be my valentine,'' Gonzalez said. According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court, the two ordered rum and Coke to drink. But at some point, romance fizzled and they began arguing.

The pair got louder, swearing at each other, so a flight attendant asked them to calm down, Gonzalez said. A passenger also told them to shut up, the affidavit said. Radder challenged the passenger to a fight.

Flight attendants turned to Alexander, who was sleeping, to solve the fight. They woke him and asked if he would swap seats with Radder again, Gonzalez said.

But that set Alexander off, the affidavit said.

He snapped, ''Why . . . are you waking me up?'' He changed seats then got up and closed in on flight attendant Kira Freeman near the cockpit, yelling and pushing forward until she was backed into a corner, the affidavit said.

Alexander ''got within two inches of her face and just started shouting at her and yelling at her for waking him up,'' Gonzalez said.

According to the affidavit, flight attendants hadn't served Alexander any alcohol, but Freeman said she smelled alcohol on his breath. He told her he would come back and get her.

By then, the pilot had radioed law enforcement in Anchorage about the disturbance.

Alexander and Radder had detention hearings set for later this week and next week. Magistrate Harry Branson said he might release Radder to either his girlfriend or parents, all of whom live in Eagle River. But he said he wasn't sure if he would release Alexander, who has an extensive history of assault and drunken driving.

Drape was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, which is due only if she violates conditions of her release.

Her uncle Mike Hudspeth said at Tuesday's hearing that Drape came to Anchorage to visit her boyfriend.

''I think she probably was sitting next to two people she didn't know,'' he said. ''Because of the behavior of them . . . she got kind of caught up in this.''

All three face a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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