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Trooper Charged With DWI Says He Knows His Career's Over

Posted December 6, 2007

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— A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper charged with DWI after he drove his car into a pond says knows his career is over, his lawyer said Thursday.

"He knows he has no future with the Highway Patrol," Raleigh attorney Russell Dement said.

Trooper Steven Ellis Bradley, 38, was charged Tuesday night with driving while impaired and assault on a law enforcement officer after he crossed into the intersection of Jones Franklin and Macedonia roads, applied the brakes and skidded before the car stopped in a pond 178 feet from the roadway.

His two children, ages 7 and 18, were in the car with him. They were not injured. Bradley suffered a wound to his head.

Dement said Bradley is embarrassed and sad that he has brought disrespect upon the Highway Patrol and accepts full responsibility for the accident.

"He accepts responsibility for his actions. He doesn't blame anyone else," Dement said, including Raleigh police.

Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said Thursday Bradley has not been terminated and that an internal investigation into the matter continues.

In the past two years, five troopers, including Bradley, have been charged with DWI. All but Bradley have either resigned or been terminated, Clendenin said.

Bradley requested an alcohol breath test at 1:21 a.m., before his arrest, and it registered 0.14, according to court documents. His blood alcohol content at 3:08 a.m., after his arrest, was 0.11. North Carolina's legal driving limit is 0.08.

Raleigh police said Bradley became combative, kicking Officer K.S. Lablanc in her shins, and that he 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.

Dement said his client used "bad judgment" and "had no intention of harming anyone or being unduly difficult to deal with." He was concerned for his children and wife, Lisa Bradley.

She was not in the car at the time of the accident, but according to 911 calls released Thursday, she arrived at the scene and jumped in the pond to try to get her husband out of the vehicle.

"They're still in the water," Bradley's sister, whose name was edited out of the call, told the 911 operator. "His wife has gotten in trying to pull him out, but can't get him out."

In the call, the woman also says water is coming into the car and that her brother is hysterical.

"They did not want us to call you, but I think it's getting critical," she said.

In a second call to Lisa Bradley's cell phone, a man can be heard sobbing in the background. When the operator asks if anyone has been hurt, he can be heard saying, "Oh man."

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

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.

149 Comments

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  • mpcape Dec 8, 2007

    Bradley is one person amoung thousands who carry the badge of State Trooper. He is a person and all people make mistakes. His mistake will cost him his career without a doubt. What is truely sad about this is that one state trooper screws up and the media will paste his face all over the TV and the newspaper. However, when 5 STATE TROOPERS are honored by M.A.D.D. and the Governors Highway Safety Program for their hardwork and dedication to the people of North Carolina for removing drunk drivers from the road, the citizens know nothing of it b/c the media feels that it won't sell headlines like if ONE Trooper screws up, which happened here this week! The media would rather show Mayor Meeker lighting up Fayetteville Street. I say thank you and keep up the good work to the fine men and women of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Every agency has turmoil and loose ends that go afray but the SHP is looked at more closely upon b/c they are the elite.

  • Rocknhorse Dec 8, 2007

    "Haven't we "tarred and feathered" this guy and all law enforcement enough?"

    In my personal opinion, NO! However, it's not because he's LEO that I feel this way. Although that does make it bad in my book since he has probably responded to DUI accidents and seen the collateral damage. I think ALL drunk drivers, regardless of career, ethnicity, education, age, etc... should be treated MUCH more severely. Our laws are WAY too soft. Tar and feather? Good idea! Public humiliation? Fine with me. ANYthing that will send the message that it will no longer be tollerated. Jail!

    "He's lucky he and his kids and others weren't hurt or killed."

    No, HE'S not the lucky one. His kids are and WE are. WE b/c we didn't meet him on the road and get killed by him. He could have harmed his kids. He could have harmed anyone on the road. If you do something stupid and hurt yourself, that's one thing. But don't endanger others for your stupidity. He had a choice and he made it.

  • strolling bones Dec 8, 2007

    i am sorry the guy made sorry really bad choices that will now take his career away...i hope he is able to recover...

  • leo-nc Dec 8, 2007

    "If you folks only knew ...! I sent a Story Idea in to WRAL News Dept. several weeks ago when the other State Troopers were being investigated for inappropriate behavior. (and they never responded) I spent several years in Law Enforcement at the city level. At least 75% of the encounters that I had with Trooper were less than positive. Not sure whether it is the position as "State Law Enforcement" official or what, but a fair amount of them, consider themselves Above the Laws that they are charge with enforcing. I hope that this officer was not one of them, and I also wish him the best for his future."

    This coming from Cary PD. I'll believe it when I see it.

  • mylilchev350 Dec 7, 2007

    Hometech: Troopers do not think they are above the law! The Patrol is a paramilitary organization, Troopers do not believe they are better than anyone else. They are like any other person out here. They are just proud of what they have accomplished. I will have to say that the Patrol is not the same organization it was 10-15 years ago, but what is!

  • Polly Dec 7, 2007

    Haven't we "tarred and feathered" this guy and all law enforcement enough? This guy, from what I read in the media, messed up big time. He's lucky he and his kids and others weren't hurt or killed. His life as he knew it is over; this is a biggie for career cops. You'd never know he existed except that he's w/ the SHP.

  • hometechnc Dec 7, 2007

    If you folks only knew ...! I sent a Story Idea in to WRAL News Dept. several weeks ago when the other State Troopers were being investigated for inappropriate behavior. (and they never responded) I spent several years in Law Enforcement at the city level. At least 75% of the encounters that I had with Trooper were less than positive. Not sure whether it is the position as "State Law Enforcement" official or what, but a fair amount of them, consider themselves Above the Laws that they are charge with enforcing. I hope that this officer was not one of them, and I also wish him the best for his future.

  • Builder03 Dec 7, 2007

    When, we first heard the story, they only mentioned the DWI. Now we hear that "an officer's hand was broken in an attempt to detain Bradley." Now, I know if that had been me, there would have been a tasing, followed by a beat-down, later waking to find a felony charge of Assualt on a Law Enforcement Official. But hey, he made "bad decisions and didn't mean the officers any harm", so pat him on the wrist, take away his job, and we can all go home happy?

  • leo-nc Dec 7, 2007

    "If the cops would spend more time catching criminals than setting up speed traps so that they can fine otherwise law abiding citizens for minor traffic violations, people may have a little more respect for them."

    Tell that to the murders, robbers and thieves who get stopped at your so called "speed traps". Obey the law and you won't have to worry about it. Nuff Said.

  • Joe Blow Dec 7, 2007

    Amen Rocknhorse!

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