Served: 19 years
1984 (incl. Bromley Police Department) to May 19, 2003
Doug was born on October 5, 1940 in Eubank, Pulaski County, Kentucky; the 7th child of Ollie and Lonnie (Keith) Bryant.
After high school, he enlisted in the United States Army and served during the buildup for the Vietnam War.
His first calling, after military service, was as a vocational teacher of automotive mechanics to students at the Northern Kentucky Vocational School.
During 1984, he switched to law enforcement and joined the Bromley Police Department as a Police Officer. Five years later, Officer Bryant joined the Kentucky Department of Wildlife Resources where, over the next fourteen years, he earned a reputation as a first-rate officer and renowned boat accident investigator. He became the chief law enforcement officer on the Ohio River in Kenton County, responsible for enforcing boating safety and fishing laws and was involved in the investigation of every major boating accident in the Northern Kentucky area for over a dozen years. He was always the first resource sought after by media following a critical incident on the River.
On May 19, 2003, about 2 p.m., Officer Bryant stopped a vehicle operated by Lloyd C. Robinson (56), of Florence, on Interstate 75 near Turfway Road. He walked up to the driver and began talking to him when Robinson suddenly stepped on the accelerator and drove off. Officer Bryant ran back to his patrol truck and took off in pursuit. He could not call for assistance because the statewide radio system was not working at the time. He also did not have time to put on his seatbelt.
Witnesses said that Robinson’s red Pontiac swerved sharply into Officer Bryant’s truck, causing it to spin and then flip near the Buttermilk Pike exit. Officer Bryant was thrown from his vehicle and died at the scene.
Robinson pulled over at the Buttermilk exit and awaited police.
Officer Bryant was survived by his wife of 20 years, Cheryl M. (Bach) Bryant; daughter, Kiana Bryant (16); and siblings, James Daryl Bryant, Ollie Bryant, and Jo Juliet.
Approximately 1000 police cars escorted his remains on May 24, 2003 from the services at the First Baptist Church in Ludlow, temporarily shutting down a six-mile stretch of Dixie Highway. He was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Robinson was initially charged by the Fort Mitchell Police Department with 2nd Degree Manslaughter and they assumed a probability that the charge would be upgraded to Murder, depending on the results of the investigation by the Kenton County Police Department.
The purpose of the stop by Officer Bryant was never determined. Officer Bryant was assigned to water patrol miles away from the pursuit. Robinson admitted to having caused the crash, but not to the pretext of the original traffic stop. Later, he denied knowing that he was being pursued.
After 2 years in early 2005, Robinson had agreed to a plea deal. But, on March 8, 2005, his defense attorney, Dean Pisacano, a few hours before the hearing, filed a motion to withdraw the plea and asked Kenton Circuit Judge Steve Jaeger to recuse himself from the case because of a letter writing campaign organized by members of the Fish & Wildlife Department. The prosecutor believed that Murder could not be proven, so Robinson was tried by a jury on charges of 2nd Degree Manslaughter and 1st Degree Fleeing and Eluding; a conviction for which would have netted Robinson a fifteen year sentence.
The trial finally began on June 21, 2005. The defense asserted that Officer Bryant’s death resulted from his not using his seatbelts, radio, or common sense; essentially that Officer Bryant killed himself. After 19 hours of deliberations, on June 25, 2005, the jury came back with a finding of guilty of Reckless Homicide and 2nd Degree Fleeing with a recommendation of only two years in prison. Kentucky law prevented the judge from sentencing the killer to more that the jury’s recommendation.
It is not known how long Robinson served for killing Officer Bryant. Our latest information is that he is living in Florence, Kentucky.
On May 10, 2004, almost a year later, Officer Bryant’s name was inscribed on the Northern Kentucky Police Memorial in Covington in a Police Week ceremony attended by hundreds of police officers.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was researched and revised May 18, 2015 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.