PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - Tazewell County authorities have sentenced an
assistant chief of the East Peoria Fire Department to 12 months
court supervision after he pleaded guilty to driving drunk.
The guilty plea Friday by James C. Bradford came several months
after controversy erupted over whether authorities properly handled
his single-vehicle crash on Dec. 16.
Bradford, 51, smashed his van head-on into a tree in East Peoria
with his twin 2-year-old sons in the back seat. He was taken to a
Peoria hospital and his children received only minor injuries.
Though court records show at least two firefighter-paramedics
detected alcohol on Bradford's breath while taking him to the
hospital, police did not request DUI testing. But a nurse conducted
a test that showed Bradford's blood-alcohol content was 0.175
percent, or more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08
percent.
After the nurse contacted East Peoria police, an officer
returned to the hospital to give another test, which showed a
blood-alcohol content of 0.09 percent and Bradford was arrested.
East Peoria Police Chief Ed Papis has defended his department's
handling of the case, saying no officer detected alcohol on
Bradford that night. Charges against Bradford were dropped in
January after a judge determined the tests at the hospital were
inadmissible because a police officer did not initially request
them.
The state's attorney's office filed the charge again on Feb. 18,
and Bradford later entered his guilty plea.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)