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State Trooper Charged With DWI, Assault on Officer

Posted December 5, 2007
Updated December 7, 2007

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— A state trooper, who was once featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to discuss financial matters, faces driving while impaired and assault charges after his personal car drove into a pond Tuesday night when he was off duty.

Authorities said Trooper Steven Ellis Bradley, 38, was traveling south on Jones Franklin Road when he crashed his personal vehicle near the intersection of Jones Franklin and Macedonia roads shortly before 11 p.m.

According to the police report, Bradley "became distracted and diverted his attention" from where he was going. When Bradley turned back around, his vehicle crossed into the intersection, passing a stop sign, the report said.

The report said Bradley applied the brakes, skidding 26 feet before the 2006 Chrysler came to rest in the pond 178 feet from the roadway.

Investigators said Bradley had his son, Adrian, 18, and daughter, Madison, 7, in the car with him.

Police said Bradley became combative, kicking Raleigh police Officer K.S. Lablanc in her shins. He also walked away from an investigative officer and failed to put his hands behind his back when asked. An officer's hand was broken while trying to detain Bradley, police said.

An alcohol breath test requested by Bradley at 1:21 a.m., before his arrest, registered .14, according to court documents. His blood alcohol content at 3:08 a.m., after he was arrested was 0.11. North Carolina's legal driving limit is 0.08.

In addition to DWI, Bradley also faces other charges, including failing to stop at the stop sign, child abuse, assault on a law enforcement officer and carrying a concealed weapon.

“Troopers know when you engage in these kinds of activities and there are charges that are filed against you, such as these charges, there are serious consequences,” Lt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol said.

Bradley and his family were once profiled on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The Jan. 27, 2007, episode, "This Is the Year to Get Richer," dealt with Bradley and his family trying to get out of debt. On the program, Bradley admitted his family was drowning in bills and was $170,000 in debt.

Bradley's wife, Lisa, said their life is back on track. She told WRAL that her husband did not resist arrest, and she claimed police were overly aggressive with him. She also said he was at a birthday party for his mother and admitted he had too much to drink, but maintains he did not lose control.

Lisa Bradley said that while she is worried her husband will lose his job, she is more concerned over police reports wrongly damaging his character.

Bradley, who has been a trooper since 1991, works in the special operations division in Raleigh. He is also a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes members of several law enforcement agencies and federal and state officials. He was placed on paid, investigative leave after the accident.

His first court appearance is set for Jan. 30.

Clendenin said the incident was "out of character" for Bradley.

"It's surprising and disappointing that these allegations and charges have been filed," Clendenin said.

The arrest is the latest black eye for the state Highway Patrol, several of whose troopers have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in recent months. Trooper Scott Harrison was dismissed in August after being accused of targeting young women in overnight traffic stops.

In September, Trooper Michael A. Steele resigned amid allegations that he forced two women he pulled over on separate occasions to kiss him. Days later, Sgt. Charles Jones was fired after allegations surfaced of dog abuse during a training exercise.

Gov. Mike Easley has called for a review of the hiring and screening procedures of the Highway Patrol.

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  • amypsychrn Dec 9, 2007

    Low paid? Troopers start out at a decent salary and get periodic planned raises where other state employees do not. Check out the job posting on www.osp.state.nc.us/jobs for the way its done so they aren't low paid by any means. The hiring practices..though the state is supposed to use merit based hiring, Equal Employment and quotas in the NCSHP forces them to hire less qualified people because of their race and sex. That's one reason that you have this mess. Do you know how hard it is for a young white male to get hired on the NCSHP? It is very difficult. I know several that would make wonderful troopers but can't get in because of their sex/race and not enough poltical pull.
    Oh, the Lenoir County Sheriff's Department has some wonderful officers.
    There are screwups everywhere.

  • FE Dec 6, 2007

    The N&O reports the initial BAC was 0.14, more than "a few beers."

    Also, the Chrysler had "fictitious plates." C'mon, the personal vehicle of a Trooper with fake plates?!?

    I think there is a LOT more to this story than meets the eye.

  • CSMs Alter Ego Dec 6, 2007

    "Troopers know when you engage in these kinds of activities and there are charges that are filed against you, such as these charges, there are serious consequences,” Lt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol said.

    It's a really tough choice as to which of these statements is the more preposterous. Perhaps she could get a job with the NCSHP as their new apologist/spin doctor?"

    Why would that be preposterous? I would be shocked if he doesn't get canned.

  • MajorLeagueinfidel Dec 6, 2007

    Regular blue collar folks die accidental deaths...vehicle accidents..electocutions..construction accidents.....LEO's (who are blue collar workers) get to have a gun put in their face and be murdered...or stood over while wounded and executed in a ditch on the side of the road...ambushed while responding to a 911 call the suspect placed......That's the differance

  • bonnnie Dec 6, 2007

    Bottom line is he should not have been drinking and driving and then have his kids with him, the law is the law if had been following the rules none of this would have happened. WHEN YOU DRINK DONT DRIVE APPLIES TO EVERYONE INCLUDING LAW ENFORCEMENT!

  • ifcdirector Dec 6, 2007

    HA! I agree RPD was probably delighted that they had gotten a state trooper. I'm sure both sides was smack talking. But, generally law enforcement do not lose they're jobs for a DWI. So, he really should've been calm about the situation, not saying that he wasn't. But, if he does lose his job, it will probably be due to all the combined charges.

    I don't think that the Raleigh Police Department really cares what kind of job the perpetrator of a crime has. What the Highway Patrol needs is better hiring screening, better awareness of their employee's lifestyle problems (when they are put on national television over $100,000 in debt for example.....), and most importantly better leadership from the top down. This spokes guy who said it was a shame he was charged is probably pretty symptomatic of the root of the problem from my perspective. I think he will lose his job and most law enforcement would, hopefully, for a DWI conviction and definitely for assault let alone on a female LEO.

  • ifcdirector Dec 6, 2007

    Bradley's wife, Lisa, said their life is back on track. She told WRAL that her husband did not resist arrest, and she claimed police were overly aggressive with him. She also said he was at a birthday party for his mother and admitted he had too much to drink, but maintains he did not lose control.....

    Or

    Troopers know when you engage in these kinds of activities and there are charges that are filed against you, such as these charges, there are serious consequences,” Lt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol said.

    It's a really tough choice as to which of these statements is the more preposterous. Perhaps she could get a job with the NCSHP as their new apologist/spin doctor?

  • ericsgrowing Dec 6, 2007

    I want to say the Media is the only reason this guys reputation is now tarnished!!! But at the same time he should use better judgement considering he is a state trooper. Incidents happen like this everyday, most of the people involved are probably good citizens that utilized poor judgement and its a shame that people just do not use taxis and designated drivers if they choose to drink, considering the major consequences that exist. We see it everyday in the news that another one is busted with drinking and driving and we all need to learn that its not ok to drink and drive. When I drink I always have a plan of action to either have a taxi or a sober friend to pick me up when I am out in public, its not worth the risks of being cought!!!

  • mvnull Dec 5, 2007

    "We are and should be held to a higher standard than those that don't enforce the laws of the land."

    I'd just be happy if law enforcement was held to the same standard as the rest of the population.

  • djofraleigh Dec 5, 2007

    .11 is what, three tall beers? Yes, he shouldn't have driven after drinking, nor driven with his children in the car, and assuming the Raleigh officers are right he was was wrong behaved during his arrest.

    Wonder if this is going to start another WAR between RPD and NCHP, like there was 30 some years ago? They were giving each other and each others' wives tickets right and left, all over the state by the one side.

    This officer certainly used bad judgment or this would not have happened. Either he has an emotional problem or he had more to influence him than a few beers and .11.

    I admire the NCHP and respect the RPD. I depend on them and feel more secure because of them. The only good news in this is that there was NOT a cover-up, no trying to minimize it.

    I'm sorry it all happened. Sorry for the RPD officer with a broken hand. Sorry for the kids seeing this happen to their dad. Sometimes things get out of hand and some people lose it.

    We will hear more of this.

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