Oklahoma cardiologist sentenced to 17 years in 2018 deadly crash

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Over a year and a half after a deadly crash claimed the life of a father, an Oklahoma cardiologist has been sentenced to 17 years behind bars for his role in the case.

Just before 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2018, emergency crews were called to a deadly crash along I-35, between 15th and 33rd.

Doctor accused in deadly crash

Authorities say Bryan Frank Perry was driving a 2013 Mercedes northbound when he hit a motorcycle, killing 31-year-old Nicholas Rappa.

At the time of his death, Rappa worked at OU Children’s Hospital and left behind a young daughter.

Nicholas Rappa
Nicholas Rappa

According to court documents, Perry told investigators that “he knew he hit something” but continued driving anyway.

“The driver of the Mercedes continued on northbound, ran off the road on the east side of the interstate where he struck a light pole, which caused the vehicle to become disabled,” said Capt. Paul Timmons, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Court documents state that Perry, a cardiologist, did not call for help or render aid to Rappa following the crash.

Bryan Perry
Bryan Perry

Perry was ultimately charged with second-degree murder in the case.

More than a year after the crash, the case went before a jury.

After hours of witness and expert testimony, a jury found Perry guilty of first-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and obstruction.

“I’m so happy that the jury didn’t buy the insanity that the defense tried to give them to buy and to blame Nicholas Rappa for his death,” said Asst. District Attorney Catt Burton.

The verdict evoked mixed emotions in Rappa’s loved ones.

“There was a momentary letdown but at the end of the day the jury was presented with their instructions and I believe that they did what they thought was right,” said Sarah Bridwell, the mother of Rappa’s daughter. 

The jury recommended a 15-year prison sentence for the manslaughter charge.

Perry’s formal sentencing was originally scheduled to be held in April, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed many cases.

Finally, a judge sentenced Perry to 15 years for manslaughter with a $10,000 fine, 1 year for aggravated driving under the influence with a $1,000 fine, and 1 year for leaving the scene of a fatal accident with a $10,000 fine on May 21, 2020.

He was also fined $500 for the obstruction conviction.

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