Two lives cut short by suspected drunk driver

Deadly crash on SR 571
Deadly crash on SR 571

DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — Two lives were cut short Sunday by a suspected drunk driver, but the driver was not arrested.

Deputies said 50-year-old Chad Bradburn, who had possibly been drinking, came up too fast on the crash on State Route 571 Sunday night.

Richard Stephenson, 49, rolled his car and passerby Linda Shafer, 47, stopped to help. Deputies said when Bradburn approached the accident, he failed to stop. They said his Jeep slammed into them, killing them both.

Bradburn was not taken into custody, so 2 NEWS asked Darke County deputies why.

“He’s entitled to certain constitutional rights like all of us are. And there’s no sense in rushing to judgement when we don’t have all the facts,” said Darke County Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker.

Deputies said it takes probable cause to make an arrest. They said Bradburn is cooperating with the investigation.

Shafer’s neighbor Darrell Hembree can’t believe she’s gone.

“I found out last night, and I said that’s unreal,” remarked Hembree.

He lives two doors down and has done work for Shafer in the past.

“I went over and mowed her yard a couple times, maybe four or five times for her,” said Hembree.

As deputies wrap their investigation, Hembree like others is mourning the two innocent lives lost.

“She’s a nice woman. Her boys and everything else,” said Hembree.

Deputies said typically it will take at least six weeks for the coroner’s report and a couple weeks for the accident reconstruction.

Officials said they will present the facts to the prosecutor, who decides whether charges will be filed. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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