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'He was sloshed': Loudoun Co. Fire captain accused of crashing department SUV while drunk

Capt. Brandon Billingsley (Courtesy of Loudoun County Fire & Rescue)

A captain within the ranks of Loudoun County Fire & Rescue is accused of crashing his department-issued SUV while drunk, and then walking away from the scene.

"I heard all these sirens and saw a bunch of lights," Brian Adom said of the Nov. 11, wreck that ended in his front yard along Hawkins Creamery Road in the rural town of Damascus, Md.

Curious as to what had just happened, Adom walked outside and saw a young man behind the wheel of a bright-red Chevy Tahoe.

“I mean, he was trashed," Adom opined. "If he wasn’t drunk, I’m not sure what he was on."

The SUV appeared to have hit two other vehicles on the two-lane road before plowing through a barbed-wire fence and striking an evergreen tree. The SUV's emergency lights were flashing, and its sirens were blaring.

“He got out of the truck with a pizza in hand and was completely oblivious to the accident," Adom recalled. "He put the pizza down on the hood of the truck and then looked around and was like, 'Oh s---, I crashed into something.' He then put the pizza in the back seat of the truck and just walked away.”

Adom retrieved his 130-pound Rottweiler Mastiff mix, named Bear, and walked behind his house, which backs to a rolling cow pasture. It was around 8 p.m. with no streetlights in sight. Adom told Bear to find the driver who had wandered off into the dark abyss.

“Bear got to him quick, and the guy gave up pretty easy," Adom said. "We then we walked him back up here, stumbling and all."

By that time, police were pulling up to the crash scene as medics tended to an injured female from another vehicle. That woman was taken to the hospital.

“One cop who rolled up here was like, 'This is definitely a government vehicle,'" Adom said. "I mean the flashing lights were just dangling inside."

Officers identified the driver of the tattered Tahoe as Brandon Billingsley, 31, a captain with Loudoun County Fire & Rescue.

After conducting multiple interviews, Montgomery County Police charged Billingsley with five traffic citations:

  • Failure to drive vehicle on right half of roadway when required,
  • Negligent driving vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner endangering property, life and person,
  • Failure to immediately stop vehicle at scene of accident involving bodily injury,
  • Driving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and
  • Driving vehicle while impaired by alcohol.

According to court records, in February 2009, Billingsley pleaded guilty to DWI, and was given supervised probation. The then-21-year-old hired defense attorney Alex Foster to represent him in that case. Billingsley has called upon Foster yet again in this most recent matter.

"At this time, he's taking the position that he is not guilty of anything, but a car crash," Foster told ABC7 by telephone Monday.

Foster questioned police's decision to charge his client with DWI seeing as Billingsley did not take field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer. Foster went on to claim Billingsley did not "willfully evade police" on the night of the crash.

"We'll respond to whatever allegations that the state makes," Foster said. "He's innocent until proven otherwise."

A spokesperson for Loudoun County Fire & Rescue confirmed Billingsley is not assigned to a firehouse but rather works in an administrative role. She declined to share his exact job duties but stressed Billingsley was off-duty at the time of the collision and has been on leave ever since.

"We are conducting our own internal investigation," spokesperson Laura Rinehart said. "We'll likely put out more information sometime soon."

Billingsley's battered department SUV is being stored at a Loudoun County auto lot. Rinehart did not know if it was totaled or repairable.

Billingsley lives with his mother and father along the 25000 block of Johnson Farm Road in Damascus. A blue Ford pickup truck was parked in the driveway Monday with a fire union sticker affixed to a window. Billingsley's mother declined comment, but did state her son was going through a "very tough time." Court records show he filed for divorce in 2017.

Billingsley's next court date in the pending drunk driving case is scheduled for Jan. 18, in Montgomery County District Court.

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