APD officer fired following DWI charge after night on Sixth Street

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer was fired Thursday for reckless driving that ended in his arrest on a DWI charge in January, according to a disciplinary memo from Police Chief Brian Manley.

The Austin Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation revealed 33-year-old Brendan Bloom was pulled over by a Williamson County sheriff’s deputy on State Highway 130 around 3:13 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4.

Investigators obtained video of Bloom drinking three vodka tonics at Darwin’s Pub on East Sixth Street in downtown Austin between 9:26 p.m. and 10:57 p.m., followed by five vodka tonics and four liquor shots at Coyote Ugly Saloon between 11:21 p.m. and 1:21 a.m.

Bloom left the bar at 1:41 a.m. The disciplinary memo lays out chaotic moments recorded in the 911 call made by a driver who followed Bloom.

“He’s gonna kill somebody,” the driver told the dispatcher. “That’s why I was panicked. He stopped in the middle of the road. I’m like, we’re at a dead stop now.”

A Williamson County deputy was heard on his body cam saying of Bloom, “He is drunk… Oh yeah, he is shoulder to shoulder, grass to grass, almost hitting bridges.”

Once stopped, Bloom told deputies he drank three vodka tonics that night, according to Chief Manley. The officer was arrested after showing signs that he was impaired by alcohol and declining to give a blood specimen.

The results of the blood alcohol test are redacted in Chief Manley’s memo.

Four months later, Bloom was interviewed by internal affairs. Bloom said while going home to Leander he got turned around and realized he was not going the right way. 

The disciplinary memo states Bloom, who has been employed with the agency for 10 years, maintained that sleep deprivation contributed to his poor driving, but conceded he did not remember significant portions of the night he was arrested and his drinking that night contributed to his impaired driving.

Chief Manley said Bloom made the concessions about his driving only after he and his attorney were shown a “significant amount of evidence.” 

“It look[s] like I was playing some kind of game flipping a plastic cup, and I may have been consuming shots,” Bloom is quoted as telling investigators. “I don’t know what it was, and to [be] honest with you, prior to watching that video, I had — I was shocked to see that. I don’t recall it all.”

During the interview, Manley says Bloom acknowledged that he watched a mandatory video in 2014 and 2016 that notified officers that driving while intoxicated would result in them being fired.

He’s gonna kill somebody…

Manley says he took into consideration Bloom’s statement that his drinking was in part associated with post-traumatic stress from his time in the Marines.

“While I empathize with those issues, it does not negate the seriousness of the charges…” Manley said, adding that Bloom failed to take advantage of employee programs, including free rideshares.

Bloom has 10 days from June 28 to appeal the police chief’s decision.

Williamson County Jail records show Bloom was released the same day he was booked into jail on a $2,000 bond.

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