OKLAHOMA CITY – A metro doctor who prosecutors say killed a father while he was drunk is returning from rehab this weekend.
Dr. Bryan Perry will remain on house arrest until he returns to court next month to face charges for second-degree murder.
Just before 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, emergency crews were called to I-35, between 15th and 33rd, following a deadly crash. Authorities say Perry was driving a 2013 Mercedes northbound when he hit a motorcycle, killing 31-year-old 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.
Investigators say they believe Perry had been drinking, and that a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” was detected.
He was ultimately charged with second-degree murder.
Now, Nick Rappa’s loved ones are stunned that Perry will only be on house arrest in light of the case against him.
“Nothing has stopped him, even a murder charge, and I’m just not confident that he feels a reason to stop doing what he’s doing,” Sarah Bridwell, the mother of Rappa’s daughter, said.
On New Year’s Eve, with second-degree murder charges filed against him just two months before, Dr. Perry failed a breath test.
Prosecutors wanted Perry locked up, but a judge gave him another chance and approved Perry’s attorney’s request that he go to rehab in Alabama.
“It’s one of the renowned facilities throughout the United States. It deals a lot with physicians and that’s what he needs,” defense attorney Scott Adams said.
Perry will board a flight back to Oklahoma on Saturday. A court order shows he’s to go directly to his Edmond home.
Those close to Rappa are concerned Dr. Perry will continue a dangerous pattern and get behind the wheel again.
In 2012, he was arrested for allegedly hitting an OHP trooper. He was never convicted.
“In my opinion, it says he has no regard for others, and he has no regard for the lives of others, the safety of others,” Bridwell said.
Bridwell’s hope for justice is just the beginning.
Someday, she’ll face the difficult task of telling her daughter what happened to her dad.
“As she gets older, I don’t know how she’ll process any of that or how she’ll understand that. It’s hard enough for us as adults,” Bridwell said.
Rappa was only 31 years old. He worked in the medical field with children.
Perry’s preliminary hearing is next month.