Oklahoma doctor charged in deadly crash back in temporary custody

OKLAHOMA CITY — A judge has temporarily revoked bond for an Oklahoma doctor accused of causing a deadly crash.

Authorities said 47-year-old cardiologist Bryan Perry was driving intoxicated in October along I-35 when he hit 31-year-old Nicholas Rappa, who was on his motorcycle. The crash killed Rappa, who is remembered by family and loved ones as a devoted father and perfusionist, working in operating rooms to keep children’s hearts pumping and lungs breathing oxygen during open heart surgery.

Last week, the state filed a motion to revoke a bond reduction that had been granted to Perry. The bond reduction included several conditions like zero alcohol consumption. According to court documents, Perry violated the bond conditions after three breath samples indicated levels of alcohol in his system on New Year’s Eve.

The state argued, for this reason, Perry should have been remanded to the Oklahoma County Jail. On Tuesday, a judge ordered him into custody but also approved a request to eventually transfer him to a facility for treatment as he awaits trial.

Perry’s attorney, Scott Adams, said they would like to move Perry to a facility in Alabama.

“It’s one of the most renowned facilities throughout the United States. It deals a lot with physicians, and that’s what he needs. He needs people that he understands, and they’re used to dealing with people in his occupation and the access to drugs and alcohol doctors unfortunately have sometimes,” Adams said. “I’m not trying to sugarcoat it. It is a nightmare that Dr. Perry is accused of the crime that he’s accused of and he’s out drinking alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s bad but we’re dealing with a disease.”

Catt Burton, with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office, said they will come back and ask the court to not go through with this order. However, if he is ultimately sent to a facility, they are requesting the facility is one that remains locked.

“The problem is that, if you’re in this world that we’re in, most treatment centers, they’re not locked facilities. I mean, you’re going there, you’re staying there for medical reasons, and you can walk out at anytime against medical advice and I doubt they’ll find a facility in the nation that will keep him locked in there,” Burton said. “What we care about is the safety of our community, and he hasn’t demonstrated in any way, shape or form that the community is safe with him out of custody.”

During court on Tuesday, the state presented multiple witnesses.

"He did not admit until coming into court today through his attorney that he did have a beer and some cold medicine. Of course, our expert witnesses said there is no way he blew the numbers that he blew ingesting a beer, whether 6 point or 3.2 and having a dose of cold medicine," Burton said. "In fact, our experts said he probably would have had to have ingested about four to six bottles of NyQuil in order to get anywhere near the lowest number that he blew, so he’s drinking because he’s an alcoholic."

Sarah Bridwell, the mother of Rappa’s daughter, Reese, said she felt the court system failed Rappa with Tuesday’s decision.

“It is physically sickening to see him walk free or be free or be given a second chance when Nick will never be given a second chance to live his life, and not be a criminal,” Bridwell said. “Nicholas didn’t murder anyone, and he doesn’t get a second chance, and this individual did and he is getting more chances than he deserves. There’s a lot of preferential treatment.”

Adams said they are expecting Perry to be moved to the facility by January 20.

"Alcoholics have a tendency to drink particularly when it’s going to be self-harming. They get stressed out and stuff like that, I’m not trying to justify it. I just wanted the court to understand this is an addiction that he’s having a difficult time with, and we’re going to get him the help that he needs," Adams said.

Burton said they are hoping to be back in court before then on the matter.

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