Local News

State Trooper Charged With DWI, Assault on Officer

Posted December 5, 2007 9:34 a.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2007 12:22 p.m. EST

— 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.