Braddy in program for alcohol treatment
Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 11:40 p.m.
Gainesville City Commissioner Ed Braddy entered an alcohol abuse treatment program after being arrested for driving under the influence Wednesday.
Gainesville Police Officer Jeff McAdams, a close friend of Braddy's, said the commissioner went to a treatment facility to deal with a drinking problem after being released from the Alachua County jail on $1,000 bond Thursday morning.
"This was a clear message," McAdams said of the accident. "You get one shot at it and you don't get another. Not from a criminal standpoint but from a spiritual one."
McAdams and others close to Braddy said they did not know when he would be released from the program.
While driving his van Wednesday night, Braddy, 33, sideswiped another vehicle while changing lanes on NW 6th Street near NW 11th Avenue, according to GPD reports. No one was injured, and each vehicle received about $300 of damage, according to the police report.
Responding officers charged him with DUI after breath tests showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.184, according to the police report. Florida law prohibits driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
In a statement issued Thursday through his attorney, Gloria Fletcher, Braddy took responsibility for the incident and said he would accept any punishment handed down by a court.
Braddy has no previous criminal history in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Braddy could face between $250 and $500 in fines, 50 hours of community service, up to six months in jail and up to one year of probation for the offense. Florida law also requires his driver's license be revoked for six months to a year.
Fletcher said the commissioner did not plan to resign from the commission as a result of the incident. Gov. Jeb Bush has the power to remove city officials from office for certain offenses, but such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, a spokesman for the governor's office said.
Santa Fe Community College, where Braddy works as a teacher and employee in the Academic Foundation, does not plan to take action against Braddy, said Larry Keen, assistant to SFCC President Jackson Sasser.
"We're viewing this incident as a personal matter for him to resolve in his way and his status with the college remains unchanged because of this," Keen said.
Braddy's fellow commissioners largely declined to comment on the incident and its potential impact on the commission Friday except to say their thoughts were with him and his family.
Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said Braddy's absence was unlikely to be long enough to interfere with any of the major decisions coming before the commission, including a decision on ways to extend Gainesville Regional Utilities' power supply beyond 2011. That decision is expected sometime after the beginning of March.
"If it turns out that's a bridge we need to cross, that will be a dialogue we need to have within the commission and with the community," Hanrahan said.
Braddy chairs the commission's Public Safety Committee and in recent months has taken tough stances on a variety of alcohol-related issues. He opposed extending bar hours, has been one of the lead commissioners working to strengthen ordinances that would make student parties and disruptions in neighborhoods more difficult and has supported keg registration laws.
McAdams said Braddy's first-hand experience with the problems of alcohol made it imperative to continue working on these issues when he rejoins the commission.
"I certainly feel he owes a debt to the community regarding his actions because he is a public figure," McAdams said. "What better way to repay that debt than to become the loudest advocate (against alcohol abuse)?"
Jeff Adelson can be reached at 352-374-5095 or email@example.com
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