IBJNews

City reaches $1.5M settlement over death in Bisard case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The family of a man killed when an Indianapolis police officer's cruiser plowed into two stopped motorcycles has reached a $1.55 million settlement with the city, attorneys said Thursday.

Eric Wells' father had filed a wrongful death suit against Indianapolis, its police department and Officer David Bisard after the 30-year-old Indianapolis man was killed in August 2010 when Bisard's cruiser crashed into his motorcycle, which was stopped at an intersection.

The lawsuit claimed "gross negligence" on Bisard's part, alleging that he was driving recklessly at a high speed while intoxicated. It also alleged that police investigators improperly failed to give the officer a breath test for alcohol at the scene.

Marvin Coan, an attorney for the Wells family, said the case's resolution brings "a certain element of relief" to Wells' parents and widow.

"I think that's something everyone would understand, although this is not a case where any amount of money is ever going to make up for the tragedy they're going to have to live with for the rest of their lives, due to the loss of Eric," he said.

City attorney Samantha Karn said Marion County's probate court must approve the settlement, and once that's done, the city will make a $1 million payment on July 2 to Wells' estate. The remaining $550,000 will be paid on or before Jan. 15, 2013.

"At this point, we are happy to have the settlement behind us. I think everyone agrees that this was a tragic incident," she said.

Karn said she could not comment further because the city still faces two lawsuits filed by crash survivors Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills. The pair, Wells' co-workers, were seriously injured when Bisard's cruiser struck their motorcycle, which was also stopped at the intersection.

Weekly and Mills' suits claim negligence on the city's part because of Bisard's conduct, Karn said.

A blood sample taken more than two hours after the crash showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 — more than twice the legal limit for driving. But a judge ruled that an initial vial of the blood was inadmissible because it was drawn by an unauthorized person, forcing prosecutors to drop a drunken-driving charge against Bisard.

Prosecutors had hoped a second vial of blood would bolster their case. But that vial was moved and left unrefrigerated for about 22 weeks. Bisard's attorney has asked that it also be thrown out.

An internal police investigation found Bisard was driving 73 mph in a 40-mph zone and using a laptop computer for messages not related to police business.

The Bisard case and bungled investigation led to the eventual resignation of Police Chief Paul Ciesielski.

Bisard still faces reckless homicide and other charges.

A message seeking comment left Thursday for Bisard's attorney, John Kautzman, was not immediately returned.

Coan said the parties agreed May 18 on a settlement amount and signed the settlement agreement June 1.

Coan said money from settlement will go to Wells' parents and widow, who are his beneficiaries. Some of that money will go toward the not-for-profit Eric Wells Memorial Foundation to further Wells' passion for assisting underprivileged children, he said.

Wells' father, Aaron Wells, told The Indianapolis Star the settlement in his son's death doesn't make him feel any better.

"But any time you can put something behind you in this whole matter helps. We don't have to be concerned about future court dates and further decisions. It is out of the way," he said.

 

 




 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT