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Dad by day, drunk-buster by night

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Dad by day, drunk-buster by night

By Steve Chamraz. CREATED May 7, 2013 - UPDATED: May 7, 2013

APPLETON - Drinking and driving is so pervasive in Wisconsin, police have a hard time keeping up with the problem.

But in Appleton, they have an extra set of eyes looking out for drunk drivers.

His name is Brad, but you will find him on Facebook and YouTube under a different moniker – “The OWI Hunter.”

“Getting drunk, it's a personal choice, but getting behind the wheel, nobody has a right to do,” he said.

Brad is so fed up with constant stories about drunk Wisconsin drivers he's decided to become part of the solution.

This suburban father started parking his minivan outside of bars 18 months ago.

Since then, it has grown into the ultimate “do it yourself” project. He sets out every weekend in search of people who have no business driving and then hands them over to police.

When Brad sees a driver who looks intoxicated, he follows the person’s car from a safe distance. If the driving starts to look erratic, Brad calls 911 and reports a possible drunk driver.

"I look for people who might be stumbling getting into cars,” he said. “Kind of a second set of ears and eyes for police.”

More often than not, Brad finds one.

In 18 months, his efforts have resulted in 42 arrests.

Brad’s success is not hard to believe, given a 2009 study found 26 percent of Wisconsin adults admit they have driven while drunk.

Last year, state courts made 44,000 convictions for drunk driving.

Appleton police captain Todd Freeman works with a lot of volunteers, but only one like Brad.

“He’s certainly unusual,” Freeman said of Brad’s effort. “But it’s not something a police department wants to tell somebody we're not interested in.”

Appleton Police laid down some ground rules and told brad to obey all traffic laws.

Other than that, Freeman said Brad’s efforts are no different than the random calls to 911 people make about drunk drivers all the time.

"It's not something that we'd advertise welcoming other people to do that, but I think brad's unique approach and his way of being positive throughout helped his cause,” Freeman said.

Steve Chamraz

Steve Chamraz

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When he joined TODAY’S TMJ4 in 2011, Steve Chamraz returned to the place where his career began. These days, Steve anchors “Live at 3:00” and “Live at 4:00” and contributes to the TODAY’S TMJ4 I-Team.