Local News

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

Posted December 6, 2007 3:24 p.m. EST
Updated December 6, 2007 9:10 p.m. EST

— 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.