Janesville man arrested on suspicion of 11th drunken-driving offense
JANESVILLE--The 11th drunken driving arrest of a Janesville man with his 14-year-old son in the van illustrates a failure of society and the criminal justice system, local law officials said.
“This does indicate our system's failure to cause change or society's failure to cause change,” Janesville police Chief Dave Moore said. “The guy is still out driving while intoxicated with a child, and that's concerning.”
Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden blamed Wisconsin's drinking culture.
“There's a lot of talk about we want to get tough on drunk drivers, but beyond the rhetoric, little has been done,” Spoden said.
Bradley J. Skelly, 48, of 357 W. Racine St., faces a mandatory minimum of eight years in prison after being charged Friday with 11th-offense drunken driving with a child in the vehicle.
Despite 10 prior drunken-driving convictions—six of them with a child in the vehicle—Skelly was driving on a valid license when he was pulled over by Janesville police at 12:16 a.m. Friday on Court Street east of Center Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.
Moore said Skelly had a valid license because his last drunken-driving conviction was in 2004, when his license was revoked for three years and he was sentenced to five years in prison, according to court records.
Wisconsin statutes have no provision for a lifetime license revocation.
“At this point, I'm as concerned about what's going to happen between today and this person's conviction or sentencing,” Moore said. “What kind of safeguards to do we have for the community?”
In court Friday, Court Commissioner Steve Meyer ordered Skelly held in a $10,000 cash bond. Skelly also is being held on suspicion of violating the extended supervision imposed after his 2002 drunken-driving offense.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Bricco told the court Skelly was released after serving prison time on his 2004 conviction, but his extended supervision was revoked in September 2013. He was released from prison again in March 2014.
Spoden said Wisconsin has an alcohol problem.
“When I tell people in other states that you can take your child into a bar and buy them a beer, they're stunned,” Spoden said.
“There's not one simple thing to cure this. It starts with awareness and making the community realize drinking is a issue in Wisconsin,” Spoden said.
Moore agreed that repeat drunken drivers predictably offend.
“After three, four, five convictions, it's pretty easy to predict this person is going to continue to drive while intoxicated,” Moore said. “Our criminal just system has to put safeguards in place to make sure they are not driving or, ideally, not consuming alcohol.”
Skelly told the arresting officer he had picked up his son from his ex-wife's home before being pulled over just after midnight Friday. The officer reported Skelly was driving 45 to 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. He failed field sobriety tests, according to the criminal complaint.
Skelly is scheduled to be back in court at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14.
DRUNKEN DRIVING HISTORY
The Gazette compiled the following information from Rock County Court, Janesville police, state Department of Transportation and online state court records. Details were not available on all incidents:
July 7, 1990: Janesville police arrest Bradley Skelly on suspicion of operating while intoxicated.
Aug. 5, 1990: Wisconsin State Patrol arrests Skelly in the town of La Prairie on suspicion of operating while intoxicated. Skelly was speeding westbound on I-90 when a trooper put his lights on. The trooper could see Skelly and a passenger switching seats and the car “weaved severely from lane to lane.”
March 2, 1996: Janesville police arrested Skelly on suspicion of operating while intoxicated and operating after suspension or revocation.
He is sentenced July 22, 1997, by Rock County Judge Richard Werner to 195 days in jail and five-year license revocation.
March 11, 1996: Skelly arrested in Rock County on suspicion of operating while intoxicated.
May 17, 1996: Janesville police arrest Skelly on suspicion of operating while intoxicated.
He is sentenced July 22, 1997, by Rock County Judge Richard Werner to 75 days in jail and five-year license revocation.
This is the last time Skelly would face misdemeanor drunken driving and operating with a prohibited blood content charges.
May 13, 1999: Operating while intoxicated with a child under age 16 in the vehicle. Operating while intoxicated with prohibited blood alcohol content level and passenger under age 16 and misdemeanor operating after revocation. In addition to jail time, license revocation and fines, Skelly was ordered to use an ignition interlock for 26 months.
June 22, 1999: Rock County deputies arrested Skelly on suspicion of felony operating while intoxicated, felony operating while intoxicated with prohibited blood alcohol content level and misdemeanor operating after revocation.
He is sentenced Aug. 23, 1999, by Rock County Judge Edwin Dahlberg on the May 13, 1999; and June 22, 1999, drunken-driving offenses to 195 days in jail, 26-month license revocation and 26 months of ignition interlock. A charge of fifth-offense driving after license revocation is dismissed.
April 24, 2002: Skelly is arrested in Rock County on suspicion of operating while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited alcohol content and misdemeanor operating while revoked. Deputies stopped Skelly in his car while he was traveling eastbound on Highway 51. Deputies could smell alcohol and Skelly agreed to a blood sample.
May 31, 2002: Rock County deputies arrest Skelly on suspicion of operating while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited alcohol content and misdemeanor operating while revoked.
Sept. 2, 2002: Skelly is arrested by Rock County deputies on suspicion of operating while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited alcohol content, two counts of felony bail jumping and misdemeanor operating while revoked.
On Jan. 5, 2004, Judge Michael Byron sentences Skelly for the April 24, 2002; May 31, 2002; and Sept. 2, 2002, drunken driving offenses to five years prison, 30 months of extended supervision, 36-month license revocation and 36 months of ignition interlock on his vehicle.
Skelly later writes Judge Michael Fitzpatrick asking to be released from prison early to help his family financially, saying “I have honestly and sincerely changed!”
Fitzpatrick denies Skelly's request, saying someone convicted of drunken driving nine times has “forfeited the right to be believed” and to be released “wouldn't do justice to severity” of the crime.
Oct. 31, 2014: Janesville police arrested Skelly on suspicion of operating while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 16.