Nevada Transportation chief approved sick leave for officer to serve jail time

Updated December 8, 2017 - 12:23 pm

The supervisor of a former Nevada Transportation Authority officer with a history of drunken driving arrests allowed him to take sick leave to serve his jail sentence in violation of state policy, records show.

Michael Bradford, the former chief of NTA’s enforcement unit who approved the leave, told his superiors that he knew about Robert Reasoner’s most recent drunken driving conviction before he crashed a state vehicle Jan. 5, emails obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show.

Top state officials started looking into Reasoner’s background 19 days after he crashed his vehicle twice in one day and was found extremely intoxicated hours later, records show. Business and Industry Deputy Director Terry Reynolds emailed Bradford with questions about Reasoner’s driving history five hours after the Review-Journal began making inquiries at the agency.

Department of Business and Industry Director Bruce Breslow, said he found out about Reasoner’s history only after requesting his driving background from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“I wanted to check his driver history and wasn’t getting the information from the chief of enforcement at the NTA,” Breslow said Tuesday. “After I received the report, I wanted to know who else knew about this. And if he put anyone in harm’s way, I wanted to do something about it.”

Breslow did not remember when he saw the internal report on Reasoner’s drunken state the day of the accident or when department officials started looking into Reasoner’s driving history.

A day after the crash, transportation agency staff sent Reynolds an email that said Reasoner had fled the accident and refused to take a drug or alcohol test.

More than two weeks later, on Jan. 24, Reynolds wrote Bradford an email asking whether he knew about Reasoner’s driving history. Since 2006, Reasoner had two drunken driving convictions and a third DUI arrest reduced to reckless driving.

“Do we have the DMV information on Reasoner and his DUI conviction(s)?,” Reynolds wrote. “Did he tell anyone of these incidents and convictions for the DUI? Did he tell us he was in jail or went to jail?”

Bradford, who was fired in February, responded the next day, saying he would obtain Reasoner’s driving record.

“I was notified by his sister that he was in jail,” Bradford wrote.

“He took sick leave for his jail time, which is a violation,” Reynolds wrote of the five-day leave Reasoner took at the end of May 2016.

“I ok’ed his leave,” Bradford responded. “I didn’t think that would be an issue.”

Breslow said Bradford never provided Reasoner’s driving record. So Breslow had to write an official letter to the DMV on Jan. 25, checking for any license suspensions, records show.

The documents also show that Bradford, who could not be reached for comment, sent another authority officer to find Reasoner after the Jan. 5 crash of the state vehicle.

“Go find Rob before he does something stupid,” Bradford told investigator William Schilling the day of the crash, a report said.

Schilling found Reasoner at his sister’s house about an hour after the accident acting extremely intoxicated, records show.

Schilling wrote in a Jan. 17 memo on the incident that Reasoner admitted to taking Ambien and Soma. Schilling said in his report that he had secured Reasoner’s loaded service weapon.

Bradford, by phone, told Schilling to get Reasoner to go to the sheriff’s office. But when Reasoner refused, Bradford and Schilling called deputies to Reasoner’s sister’s house.

Reasoner was charged with fleeing an accident and having an open alcohol container, but authorities said they could not charge him with DUI because he was not arrested at the scene.

Contact Arthur Kane at Follow @arthurmkane on Twitter.

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