Accused of attacking sheriff’s deputies and threatening to kill them so he could go to prison and have a warm place to live, a Hot Springs County man faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted.
The criminal case of William C. Bradford, 51, ascended this month to the felony-level Hot Springs County District Court.
Hot Springs County Deputy Attorney Kelly Owen charged Bradford on Nov. 6 with one felony count of interfering with police by trying to cause bodily injury, and a misdemeanor interference charge of police interference by obstructing a deputy’s duty. The felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, while the misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
A Sunday In Hot Springs County
The investigation started on a Sunday afternoon on a country road between Thermopolis and Meeteetse.
Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Sgt. Casey Freund responded to a home on Grass Creek Road, along with Deputy T. Max Lee-Crain, for a report of a domestic disturbance.
Bradford had told dispatch that a woman on his property was intoxicated and out of control, and that he feared for his life, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
Freund and Lee-Crain arrived to find Bradford sitting on a side-by-side vehicle (or UTV) on the driveway. And the woman whose alleged outburst had prompted the call stood in the driveway with her hands up, reportedly.
Lee-Crain went to talk to the woman while Freund spoke with Bradford.
Bradford slurred his words, spoke with disjointed logic and peered through bloodshot eyes, the affidavit says.
The affidavit says he agreed to a preliminary breath test, which rendered a 0.203% breath-alcohol reading.
Freund told Bradford to stay on the UTV while Freund went to talk to Lee-Crain.
But Bradford ambled out of the UTV and started to walk around, going to his vehicle parked in the driveway. Bradford opened the vehicle’s door and stumbled backward, says the affidavit.
Freund rushed back over and brought Bradford to the UTV, “and reminded him to stay there while I spoke to Deputy Lee-Crain,” the affidavit relates.
The deputies tried once again to confer, then Freund went to grab some equipment from his own vehicle.
Bradford called Freund over to talk to him, says the affidavit.
Bradford reportedly was angry with Freund for not asking after Bradford’s physical condition.
Freund said it was his understanding that the dispatcher had offered Bradford an ambulance twice, and Bradford had twice refused it, says the affidavit.
Warmer In Jail
Then came the warnings and alleged threats.
The affidavit says Bradford told Freund not to trust anyone in the Grass Creek area, saying if Freund came upon a poacher there, the poacher would just shoot him.
Bradford had run out of fuel recently and had no heat on his property, the document relates.
The temperature in Thermopolis on Nov. 5 hit an overnight low of 11 degrees and peaked during the day at 32 degrees, Accuweather.com reports.
“I look at killing law enforcement officers. I look at killing people, for a place to live,” Bradford allegedly told Freund.
Bradford’s left hand shifted to his side and out of Freund’s sight, says the affidavit.
Freund took Bradford’s comments as a threat and became concerned with the position of Bradford’s wandering hand.
“I slowly walked around the side-by-side while talking with Bradford and verified his left hand was empty,” says the affidavit. “I took Bradford’s statements as a real threat and believed he may try to do something to harm me or Deputy Lee-Crain so he could go to jail.”
Onto The Ground
Hoping to check Bradford for weapons, Freund told Bradford to stand up in the driveway. But Bradford stayed rooted in place in the UTV, the affidavit says.
Freund called Lee-Crain over to help, and the pair tried to pull Bradford out by his arms as the man resisted by pulling away, the document adds.
“Don’t you do this to me you motherf***er,” Bradford allegedly said.
The affidavit says Bradford kicked at Lee-Crain and kept wrestling away, so Bradford “performed a take down” to get the man to the ground.
The two deputies handcuffed Bradford behind his back, searched him and found no weapons on him, says the affidavit.
Might Just Have A Heart Attack
Once secured in the back of Freund’s patrol truck, Bradford reportedly yelled that he needed to go to the hospital for a possible cardiac event.
The deputies headed toward Thermopolis, arranging with an ambulance to meet them on the highway along the way.
Bradford hurled verbal attacks from the back seat, the affidavit says.
Then Bradford went silent and slumped over where he sat.
Lee-Crain kept trying to get Bradford to respond to him, and eventually Bradford did.
Freund pulled into a pull-out area along the highway to wait for the ambulance.
Every time Bradford would try to slump over, Lee-Crain would push his torso and head back up so he couldn’t drift into unconsciousness, says the affidavit.
Bradford allegedly told Lee-Crain he was going to bite him, and moved his open mouth toward Lee-Crain’s right hand.
Lee-Crain was able to get his hand out of the way without getting bit, says the affidavit.
Going To Hunt You Down
The ambulance arrived. Staffers told the deputies to re-cuff Bradford’s hands together in front of his body rather than behind so he’d be positioned for the ambulance ride.
As the deputies did that, Bradford pushed his fists forward in a punching motion and struck Lee-Crain in the face, the document alleges.
Personnel pinned Bradford’s arms down, and Freund attached the man’s handcuffs to a belly chain.
“I am going to kill you,” Bradford allegedly told Freund. “I am going to hunt you down. I will hurt you.”
Lee-Crain hopped into the back of the ambulance to stay with Bradford, while Freund prepared to leave the pullout. But EMS staffers told Freund that Bradford was trying to take Lee-Crain’s taser.
“When I entered the back of the ambulance, Deputy Lee-Crain had control of his taser and had put distance between Bradford and himself,” Freund related in the affidavit.
Personnel tightened Bradford’s restraints and took him to the hospital.
A doctor said Bradford wasn’t cleared to go to the jail and needed to stay overnight.
Bradford told the doctor that if they would remove his restraints from him, he’d refuse to stay at the hospital; he’d leave and then kill himself, says the affidavit.
Deputies secured Bradford at the hospital.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.