DPD estimates Rep. Bradford’s blood-alcohol level was twice legal limit

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DENVER — Rep. Laura Bradford’s blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit when she was pulled over last month, according to an estimate by the police officer who stopped her.

In an Internal Affairs report released Wednesday, Officer Brian Klaus said that Bradford, R-Collbran, initially said she’d only had one glass of wine, but later admitted to having had three glasses after Klaus informed her what he believed her BAC to be.

Bradford, who was temporarily relieved as her position as chairwoman of a House committee and then threatened to switch her party affiliation in response, was never given a breathalizer test when she was stopped near the Capitol on the night of Jan. 25.

Had she been given a test, and blown anything over the legal limit of 0.08, she’d have been arrested.

She had been drinking at the Prohibition bar on Colfax and Pennsylvania, where a source told FOX 31 Denver she’d been since before 7 p.m., more than three hours before she was pulled over for erratic driving just after 10 p.m.

Initially, Denver Police alleged that Bradford had invoked “legislative immunity” and gotten out of a possible DUI — she was instead sent home in a taxi — because of an antiquated statute that prevents police from arresting lawmakers during the legislative session.

A week after the incident, DPD held a press conference to admit that Bradford had not asked for special treatment.

Sgt. Benita Packard, also quoted in the report, writes that Bradford said she had to be back at the Capitol for work in the morning.

Klaus, who also told Bradford she could have been arrested for having a loaded gun in the car when she was pulled over, confirms in his statement that Bradford didn’t ask for special treatment.

Based on his version of events, Klaus was overruled by Packard, who decided to put Bradford in a cab rather than arrest her.

According to Klaus, Packard also told him not to mention Bradford’s loaded gun in his official report.

“After the taxi left, Sgt. Packard then told me to keep the handgun part of the stop quiet and only we would know,” Klaus writes.

Lt. Matt Murray, a spokesman for the department, told FOX 31 Denver Wednesday that the discrepancies between the statements from Klaus and Packard are “troubling” and “worthy of further review.

“That’s exactly why we started looking into this,” Murray said. “We had been hearing one story from one person, and then we started hearing a second story from another. This investigation is not completed, and we still don’t know whose statement is right.”

Bradford is back at the Capitol but had already left for the day when FOX 31 Denver asked the House Republican press office if she were available for comment.

Speaker Frank McNulty issued a short statement on the matter.

“The bipartisan House Ethics Panel did due diligence, and unanimously found that Rep. Bradford did not break House ethics rules,” said McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch. “As a result of the Ethics Committee’s findings, Rep. Bradford has been reinstated as chair of House Local Government Committee.”

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