Complaints did not keep DWI driver off the road

Michael Patrick Bradley (Image courtesy Wake County Sheriff's Office)

February 15, 2011 4:01:17 PM PST
A Raleigh man convicted of drunk driving three times is now charged in a wreck that left two people hurt.

It happened despite the pleas of a tipster who claims he tried to convince the Wake County District Attorney's Office to do more to get 49-year-old Michael Patrick Bradley off the road.

Records show Bradley, of 1124 Cedarhurst Drive, was convicted of DWI in Wake County on January 6 and given probation for the October 2009 offense. Previously, he had DWI convictions in 1984 in Pitt County and 1991 in Wake County.

A little under a month after his January court appearance, Bradley was accused of driving impaired on Blue Ridge Road at Lake Boone Trail on February 4. Police say he was going the wrong way down the road when he hit another car and a utility pole - pulling down traffic signals.

The wreck was no surprise to an anonymous tipster who told ABC11 he's practically been hounding the district attorney's office for months - begging them to get Bradley off the roads.

In an email dated May 26, 2010, the tipster wrote:

"This guys[sic] is still driving...and is going to kill someone if you guys do not do something. Does someone have to die? Please get him off the road!"

Last month, Assistant District Attorney John Parker wrote: "Our office is fully aware of his status."

Despite that, Bradley ended up back on the street.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said part of the problem is the sheer number of DWI cases his office prosecutes.

"We have probably about five thousand DWI arrests a year in Wake County. [It] puts tremendous pressure on our courts," he explained.

And Willoughby says there are a number of reasons repeat offenders end up back on the streets - with their cases continued multiple times - as in Bradley's case.

"It has to give that attorney adequate time to prepare the case. And when we bring the case to trial, and we convict them in the district court, they have a right to appeal to Superior Court and the process starts all over again," said Willoughby.

Willoughby also says by law, most people are to bond out of jail until their day in court.

"That's probably something that the legislature ought to look at," he said.

There is a bill in the legislature right now aimed at giving repeat DWI offenders more jail time and higher court costs.

As for Michael Bradley, he's finally off the streets - charged with two counts of aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle, one count of reckless driving to endanger and one count of hit and run. The people in the car he ran into February 4 survived - one with a broken arm, the other with a broken leg.

Bradley is in the Wake County jail on a $300,000 bond.

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