WILLIAM BRADFORD
CIVIL TRIAL DEPOSITION

See also: William Bradford Police Report
See also:
William Bradford Criminal Trial


Page 4

1 WILLIAM JAMES BRADFORD

2 being produced, sworn as hereinafter certified and

3 examined on behalf of the Plaintiffs Farrell,

4 Kleinheksel and Hill and defendants Farrell,

5 testified as follows?

6 DIRECT EXAMINATION

7 BY MR. LIABO:

8 Q. Mr. Bradford, would you tell us your

9 name, address and Social Security number, please?

10 A. William James Bradford. Address is 626

11 Eagle Ridge Road, Cedar Falls. And my Social

12 Security is xxx xx xxxx.

13 Q. What is your date of birth?

14 A. 5-13-66.

15 Q. And you are married to Lisa?

16 A. Yep.

17 Q. And you have two daughters?

18 A. Two children, yeah.

19 Q. All right. How are you employed?

20 A. I'm a direct consultant for United

21 States Cellular.

22 Q. In?

23 A. Sales.

24 Q. Sales?

25 A. Outside sales.

 

Page 5

1 Q. Does that mean that you travel out to

2 customers?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. What is your educational background?

5 A. Junior college, and that's the extent of

6 it.

7 Q. When did you complete your junior

8 college?

9 A. In '86.

10 Q. Is that NIACC?

11 A. Iowa Central in Fort Dodge.

12 Q. You're friends of Tracy and Delonna

13 Rokes?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. And how long have you been friends with

16 the Rokeses?

17 A. Shortly after I met my wife, so probably

18 eight years, I would say.

19 Q. We have a little background because Lisa

20 was here ahead of you.

21 A. Right.

22 Q. And I understand that she and Delonna

23 met while they were both working for The Limited.

24 A. Correct.

25 Q. And then when you and Lisa were married

 

Page 6

1 and when Delonna and Tracy were married, you began

2 doing things as couples.

3 A. Correct.

4 Q And I understand from your wife's

5 testimony that you're fairly close friends with the

6 Rokeses.

7 A. Uh-huh.

8 Q. Yes?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You see each other on a regular basis?

11 A. Yeah.

12 Q. Your children play together?

13 A. Uh-huh.

14 Q. One of the ground rules, you have to

15 answer "yes" or "no"/

16 A. Okay. Yes.

17 Q. The court reporter has to pick up all of

18 this in a way that is intelligible for the machine

19 that he's working on.

20 A. Okay.

21 Q. And so we have to answer "yes" or "no",

22 or you have to answer "yes" or "no". If you choose

23 to answer a question "yes" or "no", it should be

24 "yes" or "no" rather than a not of a head or a shake

25 of the head or "uh-huh".

 

Page 7

1 A. Okay.

2 Q. Then we also have to not overlap, so

3 I'll let you finish your answer if you'll let me

4 finish my question. Okay?

5 A. Sure.

6 Q. Okay. Do you and Tracy Rokes socialize

7 together apart from your wives?

8 A. I don't think we have aside from your

9 wives, no.

10 Q. I got the impression that at one time

11 you would see each other as couples almost every

12 weekend.

13 A. Sure.

14 Q. And now you see each other frequently,

15 but maybe not every weekend, but still frequently?

16 A. Probably once a month.

17 Q. Do you regard Tracy Rokes as one of your

18 best friends?

19 A. No, I wouldn't say one of my best

20 friends.

21 Q. One of your better friends, though, I

22 mean in terms of your socialization?

23 A. As a couple, yeah. But as an

24 individual, I would say no.

25 Q. On October 4th, 1996, you were with the

 

Page 8

1 Rokeses; correct?

2 A. Uh-huh, correct.

3 Q. What is your recollection of how you

4 happened to be with the Rokeses that evening?

5 A. Our wives, there were probably four or

6 five couples that generally do stuff together, the

7 wives had coordinated something earlier in the

8 week, it might have even been the last minute on

9 that Friday, I'm not for sure, for us to do

10 something that evening and had come to the

11 conclusion we were all going to join at Brooster's

12 at I don't even remember what time, 7:30, 8,

13 someplace in that area, just for some cocktails and

14 a couple hours away from the children and then make

15 it an early evening home.

16 Q. All right. How did you learn about the

17 plans?

18 A. From my wife.

19 Q. After you got home?

20 A. I think earlier in the week we had

21 discussed it, but nothing had been finalized until

22 that day, I think.

23 Q. I mean, you tow had to find a

24 baby-sitter, at least?

25 A. Right.

 

Page 9

1 Q. Somebody that had to be lined up

2 earlier?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. B the way, do you have any business

5 dealings with Tracy Rokes?

6 A. Yeah, he's a customer of mine.

7 Q. When you say he's a customer, he has his

8 business's cellular services with your company?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. Do you have any other business

11 relationships with him?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Have you ever been involved in any

14 investments with him?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Or any of his properties or investments?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Do you recall what time you and your

19 wife left for Brooster's?

20 A. I don't know what time we had left, but

21 I would say that we got there, like I said earlier,

22 sometime between 7:30 and 8.

23 Q. Who was there that you know, that you

24 recognize when you arrived?

25 A. One of the other couples that were

 

Page 10

1 meeting us there, Connie and Craig Young.

2 Q. Were the Brauns there yet?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Had you had anything to drink of an

5 alcoholic nature prior to going to Brooster's?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Do you know if Lisa had?

8 A. I do not know if she had. No, I don't

9 know.

10 Q. When you arrived and you saw the Youngs,

11 what did you do?

12 A. Socialized. We got a table until the

13 other couples had joined us and just Craig and I

14 started carrying on a conversation while Lisa and

15 Connie did. And I don't know if we sat at the

16 table with them to begin with as far as -- I think

17 it was Lisa and Connie sitting at the table at

18 first and I think we started watching the

19 World Series, because it was one of the final games

20 of the World Series. And then small talk.

21 Q. All right. Did you order a beer?

22 A. No.

23 Q. What did you have?

24 A. Mixed drink.

25 Q. Mixed drink?

 

Page 11

1 A. Uh-huh.

2 Q. What were you drinking?

3 A. Jack Daniels and Pepsi.

4 Q. Is that your usual drink?

5 A. Uh-huh.

6 Q. Yes?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. All right. At some point in time the

9 Rokeses arrived?

10 A. Right.

11 Q. And then also the Brauns?

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. Who got there first, the Brauns or the

14 Rokeses?

15 A. I want to say Scott and Tracey Braun and

16 then it was followed by the Rokeses.

17 Q. Can you recall precisely who came first?

18 A. I would say Scott and Tracey Braun did.

19 Q. Do you recall approximately what time

20 the Rokeses arrived?

21 A. Probably a half-hour to 45 minutes after

22 we had gotten there. I would say after 8, 8:15.

23 Q. What happened after -- how soon after

24 the Rokeses arrived did the Brauns arrive?

25 A. The Brauns arrived before the Rokeses.

 

Page 12

1 Q. I'm sorry. Yes, that's right. So how

2 much before?

3 A. Probably ten minutes.

4 Q. About ten minutes before?

5 A. Uh-huh.

6 Q. Okay. Excuse me. All right, after

7 everybody was there, after the Rokeses were there,

8 what happened?

9 A. The ladies, the wives stayed at the one

10 table that we had originally gotten and the guys

11 gathered in front of one of the TVs and continued

12 small talk and watched the World Series.

13 Q. Did you see Tracy Rokes drinking

14 anything?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. What did you see him drink?

17 A. Beer.

18 Q. Do you know how many beers he had to

19 drink?

20 A. I saw him -- I don't remember exactly

21 how many for sure. I mean, I was aware that he was

22 drinking bottled beer. No, I mean I can't recall

23 exactly how many. Not more than probably two or

24 three at the very most when we were on the

25 Brooster's side.

 

Page 13

1 Q. When you were on the Brooster's side.

2 A. Uh-huh.

3 Q. It was on the Brooster's side that you

4 were watching the World Series?

5 A. The World Series, correct.

6 Q. So you impression is that Tracy Rokes

7 had approximately two to three beers while on the

8 Brooster's side?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. All right. And then you went over to

11 the Celebration's side?

12 A. Celebration's.

13 Q. To listen to the band?

14 A. Right.

15 Q. All right. What happened after the

16 group went over to the Celebration's side? Well,

17 before I ask you that, so I don't forget,

18 approximately what time did you go to the

19 Celebration's side?

20 A. I would say right before 10. Because we

21 weren't at the Celebration's side very long before

22 my wife and I had left. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes on

23 the Celebration's side before we had left.

24 Q. Okay. So you went over to the

25 Celebration's side just before 10?

 

Page 14

 

1 A. Correct.

2 Q. At that point in time, as best you can

3 recall, Tracy Rokes had two or three beers?

4 A. Correct.

5 Q. What went on over at the Celebration's

6 side?

7 A. We gathered at the bar. I think Delonna

8 danced with somebody and there might have been

9 maybe Connie danced with somebody out on the dance

10 floor, and the rest of us were at the bar.

11 Q. All right. Where was Tracy Rokes?

12 A. I was standing next to him at the bar

13 the whole time we were over there.

14 Q. When you say "the whole time we were

15 over there," you're referring to you and your wife?

16 A. The party. The group, right.

17 Q. Did you observe Tracy Rokes have

18 anything to drink on the Celebration's side?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. What did you observe?

21 A. Beer.

22 Q. How many beers did you see him drinking?

23 A. I don't know if I saw him have anything

24 additional from what -- we had all carried our

25 drinks over from when we had left the

 

Page 15

1 Brooster's side, and I don't know if I saw him

2 order any more when we were on the Celebration's

3 side or not.

4 Q. Okay. All right. So you don't know

5 whether he bought any beer over there?

6 A. I do not.

7 Q. Or whether the beer you saw him have was

8 what he brought with him from Brooster's side;

9 correct?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. Okay. Did you see him go out on the

12 dance floor?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Your testimony is that you and your wife

15 left around 10 o'clock?

16 A. Yeah, probably between 10 and 10:15, I

17 would guess. Because I know we had gotten home

18 before the news had ended, and we don't live but

19 maybe 16 -- back then we didn't live more than 15

20 minutes away from Brooster's.

21 Q. And your testimony was that you were

22 only on the Celebration's side maybe about 10

23 minutes or so?

24 A. Fifteen to 20 minutes.

25 Q. Okay. The Rokeses were still at

Page 16

1 Celebration's when you left; right?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. And obviously you would be in no

4 position to know how many beers Tracy Rokes had

5 after you left?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. Now when you last saw Tracy Rokes, did

8 you have any opinion or impression one way or the

9 other as to whether or not he was under the

10 influence of any of the beer that he had consumed?

11 A. No.

12 Q. You just didn't know one way or the

13 other?

14 A. I would say he was not under the

15 influence.

16 Q. How much did you have to drink that

17 night before driving home?

18 A. Probably two or three drinks. About the

19 same.

20 Q. About the same as Tracy?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. Did those have any influence on you?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Your testimony is that Tracy had two to

25 three drinks as far as what you could observe?

 

Page 17

 

1 A. Correct.

2 Q. If his testimony indicates that he had

3 more than that to drink, that would have been

4 beyond your observation?

5 A. Correct.

6 Q. Or at least you weren't counting his

7 beers, were you?

8 A. No.

9 Q. All right. And you weren't keeping tabs

10 on how much he was drinking?

11 A. No.

12 Q. And when you say that he wasn't under

13 the influence, do you know the difference between

14 being under the influence and being staggering

15 drunk?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. A person can be influenced and have

18 alcohol affecting them without being staggering,

19 slobbering drunk; correct?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. And a person can be under the influence

22 to the point where it might affect their ability to

23 make fine judgments or be fully coordinated, but

24 not be staggering, slobbering drunk; correct?

25 A. Correct.

Page 18

1 Q. Would you be in any position to have an

2 opinion one way or the other as to whether or not

3 by the time Tracy Rokes left the bar, whenever that

4 was, that he would have consumed enough to have

5 been under the influence to some extent of the

6 alcohol he had consumed?

7 A. Are you asking me if I can make a

8 judgment as far as if he was under the influence?

9 Q. By the time he left the bar -- first of

10 all, that was after you had left the bar; correct?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. I just want to know what is within your

13 powers of observation and your powers of

14 formulating opinion. Are you in any position to

15 offer any opinion one way or the other as to

16 whether or not by the time Tracy Rokes left the bar

17 he was under the influence to some extent of the

18 alcohol had had consumed?

19 A. No, I can't judge that.

20 Q. Can you judge whether or not Tracy Rokes

21 was under the influence to some extent of the

22 alcohol he consumed what you were standing there

23 talking to him in the bar?

24 A. I can make a good gesstimation.

25 Q. And the gesstimation is what?

 

Page 19

1 A. No.

2 Q. When you have seen him -- have you seen

3 him drinking before?

4 A. Oh, yeah.

5 Q. Have you seen him drunk before?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. What's he like when he's drunk?

8 A. Very mellow.

9 Q. When you say very mellow, what do you

10 mean? Quiet?

11 A. No. Just he doesn't get hysterical or

12 doesn't get stupid or crazy or obnoxious. Just

13 laid back.

14 Q. Relaxed?

15 A. Relaxed, very relaxed.

16 Q. Is he less talkative, more talkative,

17 about the same?

18 A. I would say less talkative, probably.

19 Q. Does he ever have trouble walking or

20 you know, manipulating objects, fine motor skill

21 problems, that sort of thing?

22 A. Just like anybody, I'm sure anybody

23 has that problem. I haven't noticed it. I don't

24 watch it.

25 Q. I mean, I assume you don't follow your

 

Page 20

1 friends around doing field sobriety tests over the

2 course of the party; correct?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. Okay. And that was true this night at

5 Brooster's and Celebration's, you weren't following

6 him around asking him to walk a straight line --

7 A. Correct.

8 Q. -- or touch his finger to his nose and

9 that sort of thing.

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. So when you were talking to him, he was

12 not in a particularly -- well, let me rephrase it.

13 you didn't sense any altered mood?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Or difference in his demeanor?

16 A. No.

17 Q. He wasn't any quieter than usual?

18 A. No.

19 Q. He wasn't talking a lot or talking

20 rapidly or jumping up and down or that sort of

21 thing?

22 A. No.

23 Q. He wasn't repeating himself?

24 A. No.

25 Q. What was he doing when you left the bar?

 

Page 21

1 A. He was still standing there at the bar

2 with some of the other couples.

3 Q. With the Youngs or the Brauns?

4 A. With the Youngs and the Brauns both.

5 Q. Did you see Delonna Rokes that night?

6 A. Yes, I did.

7 Q. Did she appear to be -- was she drinking

8 that night?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Did she appear to be intoxicated to you?

11 A. I can't make that judgment, because

12 Delonna is always crazy when we go out.

13 Q. Okay. I think there's been some

14 testimony from Tracey Braun that she thought --

15 that Tracey Braun thought Delonna was intoxicated

16 that night.

17 A. Could be.

18 Q. Could be?

19 A. Uh-huh.

20 Q. Okay. How did you learn about this

21 collision?

22 A. I believe it was in the Sunday paper.

23 Q. Did you talk to Tracy about it?

24 A. Nope.

25 Q. Have you ever talked to Tracy about it?

 

Page 22

1 A. Nope.

2 Q. You did give a statement to the police;

3 correct.

4 A. Correct

5 (Deposition Exhibit 34 marked for

6 identification, as requested.)

7 Q. Mr. Bradford, take a look at

8 Exhibit 34. Do you recognize that as your

9 statement to the Cedar Falls Police Department?

10 A. Those are my initials, correct.

11 Q. All right. And that was given -- that

12 statement was given on October 10th of 1996?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. You indicate in about the fourth

15 paragraph down, the beginning of the second

16 sentence, you say "I've known Tracy Rokes since

17 about 1989 and have been out drinking with him

18 before. Tracy was drinking beer that night and

19 that is what he usually drinks. At Brooster's we

20 probably had two beers and when we went to

21 Celebration's I saw him buy one additional, so I

22 believe I saw him have three beers. Tracy seemed

23 fine to me. He's not the kind of person that

24 overdoes it. It was a pretty normal night based on

25 the times we have gone out in the past."

 

Page 23

1 Do you see that?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. Now I just have a couple questions about

4 your words here. You said, "In Brooster's we

5 probably had two beers." Do you see that"

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. Were you drinking beer in Brooster's?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Who is the "we" that you're referring to

10 when you say "we" probably had two beers?

11 A. "We" meaning the group of individuals

12 that we were with, and beers referring to drinks

13 and/or beers, cocktails.

14 Q. So you think you had two cocktails?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Then you go on in your statement to

17 indicate that "When we went to Celebration's I saw

18 him buy one additional, so I believe I saw him have

19 three beers." Is that correct?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. Now are you telling the police in this

22 statement and are you telling us here today that

23 Tracy only had three beers during the time that you

24 were with him?

25 A. Correct.

 

Page 24

1 Q. I mean, that is your absolute -- I mean

2 that is your testimony, that Tracy Rokes only had

3 three beers maximum while you were with him?

4 A. Correct.

5 Q. It's not possible that it was four, it's

6 not possible that it was five, it was three?

7 A. Just like it says, I believe I, I,

8 mean me, saw him have three beers. I saw him

9 have three beers.

10 Q. So that's your believe based upon --

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. -- your ability to observe?

13 A. Uh-huh.

14 Q. Yes?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. Just so I understand your testimony, are

17 you saying that it is not possible that Tracy Rokes

18 had more than three beers during the period of time

19 that you were with him?

20 A. That I was with him at Brooster's?

21 Q. Right.

22 A. I would say no, he didn't have more than

23 whatever I said, simply because he was standing

25 next to me the entire night on both sides of the

 

Page 25

 

1 building.

2 Q. So your testimony is that your count of

3 the number of beers that he had is accurate and he

4 did not have more than three beers?

5 A. Of what I saw him purchase, he did not

6 purchase more than three beers.

7 Q. All right.

8 A. For himself.

9 Q. For himself. And you are certain of

10 your powers of observation with respect to that

11 issue?

12 A. From what I observed, correct.

13 Q. Are you ruling out the possibility that

14 he purchased more than three beers and you just

15 either didn't see him buy those beers or didn't

16 make note of them in your mind?

17 A. I'm not ruling that out, no.

18 Q. I mean, there was other things going on

19 that night that commanded your attention other than

20 keeping track of how many beers Tracy Rokes was

21 burying; correct?

22 a. Correct. But when you're standing next

23 to somebody all night, you kind of keep an eye on

24 how much they're drinking.

25 Q. Were you watching the baseball game too?

 

Page 26

1 A. On the Brooster's side, yes. On the

2 Celebration's side, no.

3 Q. There was a band on the Celebration's

4 side?

5 A. Correct.

6 Q. On the Brooster's side it was the

7 baseball game, on the Celebration's side it was the

8 band?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. And so you were watching the baseball

11 game and conversing, I assume; correct?

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. And on the Celebration's side you were

14 looking at the band from time to time, I assume?

15 A. No, I wasn't watching the band. I was

16 listening to the band. I had my back to them.

17 Q. And then you were with, obviously, other

18 people besides Tracy. I mean, Craig Young was

19 there?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. And Mr. Braun was there?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. I mean, so Tracy was not the focus of

24 your undivided attention; correct?

25 A. Correct.

 

Page 27

1 Q. Have you ever talked to Delonna about

2 this collision?

3 A. No, I have not.

4 MR. LIABO: I think that's all I have.

5 Thank you.

6 DIRECT EXAMINATION

7 BY MR. GALLAGHER:

8 Q. I'm Ed Gallagher and I represent one of

9 the girls that was injured in this collision.

10 A. Okay.

11 Q. The only thing I think I would have, you

12 really don't know if Tracy Rokes had anything to

13 drink before he got to Brooster's, do you?

14 A. I do not.

15 MR. GALLAGHER: That's all.

16 MR. TEMPLE: I have not questions.

17 DIRECT EXAMINATION

18 BY MR. HELLMAN:

19 Q. Mr. Bradford, my name is Jim Hellman and

20 I'm representing the Farrell estate in this

21 matter. Judy Farrell was the girl that was killed

22 in the accident.

23 Exhibit 34, which is in front of you, is

24 your statement, is that correct/

25 A. Yes.

 

Page 28

1 Q. And the second page is your signature?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Okay. At the bottom of the first page

4 you indicate that "When talking with Delonna, she

5 was being her typical self, crazy and wild." And

6 then you go on to say that that's her normal self.

7 Can you tell us what you observed about her

8 behavior that night that would lead you to describe

9 it as crazy and wild?

10 A. When she was dancing she was just being

11 goofy and doing goofy movements and running up and

12 trying t gram the male spouses to come on and

13 dance with her.

14 Q. Did she appear to be having a good time?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. And appear to be happy?

17 A. Uh-huh. Correct.

18 Q. Anything else that you observed?

19 A. From Delonna?

20 Q. Yeah, as far as this crazy and wild

21 behavior that you noticed.

22 A. No.

23 MR. HELLMAN: That's all I have. Thank

24 you.

25 MR. BEVEL: I don't have any questions.

 

Page 29

1 REDIRECT EXAMINATION

2 BY MR. LIABO:

3 Q. Just a real quick question on the

4 statement that you gave. I was going to ask you

5 this earlier. You stated that she was being her

6 typical self, crazy and wild, but that's not

7 because of alcohol, that's her normal self. Do you

8 see that in your statement?

9 A. Yes, I do.

10 Q. Now that's the statement that you gave

11 to the police.

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. Earlier in your deposition we talked

14 about your observations of Delonna, and am I

15 correct you're not prepared to testify here today

16 under oath that Delonna was not intoxicated that

17 night, are you?

18 A. If you're asking me was she

19 intoxicated --

20 Q. No. In other words, you're not vouching

21 for her sobriety that night, are you? In other

22 words, you're not telling us that she was not

23 intoxicated?

24 A. I don't know if she was intoxicated. I

25 do not know if she wasn't intoxicated.

 

Page 30

1 Q. Okay. So when you said to the police

2 that she's crazy and wild, but that's not because

3 of the alcohol, were you intending to tell them

4 that she was, in fact, not intoxicated?

5 A. She wasn't doing anything abnormally

6 that alcohol would have an affect on as far as

7 making you crazy or do goofy things. I mean,

8 that's just her personality. Her gestures and

9 stuff were not because she maybe had alcohol in

10 her. That's her personality.

11 Q. But it also could -- her mood could also

12 have been influenced by her intoxication, or by

13 alcohol, rather?

14 Q. It could have. But that's her

15 personality.

16 MR. LIABO: I think that's all I have.

17 Thank you.

18 MR. HELLMAN: I don't have anything

19 further.

20 MR. GALLAGHER: No more.

21 MR. BEVEL: Nothing.

22 MR. LIABO: That's it. Thank you very

23 much. I appreciate you coming down.

updated 12/12/16