IBJNews

Indianapolis officer Bisard convicted in fatal 2010 crash

Associated Press
November 5, 2013
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A suspended Indianapolis police officer was convicted Tuesday of driving drunk and causing a fatal crash in a case that has roiled the city's police department for more than three years.

An Allen County jury deliberated for more than seven hours before returning its verdict in the case of Officer David Bisard.

Public safety leaders said they hoped the verdict would end a tumultuous chapter for the city and its police department, while the parents of the man killed said they can return to their home in Florida with "some peace in our minds."

"Justice has been served. Our son is gone forever, but David Bisard, we can only hope, will receive the help that he needs, that he never again hurts or takes another innocent life," said Aaron Wells, whose 30-year-old son, Eric, was killed in the crash.

Bisard faced reckless homicide, criminal recklessness, drunken driving and other charges in the August 2010 crash that killed Eric Wells and seriously injured two other motorcyclists.

The case, which was moved to Fort Wayne because of extensive media coverage in Indianapolis, focused on whether Bisard was drunk at the time of the crash and whether blood samples taken during the investigation were mishandled.

Prosecutors said tests showed Bisard had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 percent the day of the crash. But defense attorneys challenged those results, arguing that the blood was drawn at an unauthorized facility and that two vials had been mishandled.

Defense witnesses testified that they saw no signs that Bisard was intoxicated at the crash scene.

The case was marked with turmoil from the beginning. Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi dropped drunken driving charges against Bisard after learning that the blood test showing a 0.19 percent blood alcohol level wasn't taken by an authorized technician at a hospital as required under state law.

New Prosecutor Terry Curry later reinstated the charges, and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in December that the blood tests could be admitted into evidence.

"Now we don't have to worry about ... every other month, coming back to court and wondering, what next?" said Mary Mills, 50, who was badly injured in the crash with her husband, Kurt Weekly, 47. She said she received her disability retirement last week, and Weekly struggles with short-term memory problems.

Bisard was initially free on bond and was allowed to keep his driver's license while awaiting trial. But he was ordered jailed after his arrest in April on misdemeanor drunken driving charges after a pickup truck he was driving ran into a guard rail along a winding, narrow road in Indianapolis. No one was injured.

A blood test showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 percent, according to court documents. The state's legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent.

The case drew intense local media coverage as police officers' handling of the crash scene and evidence stirred public distrust and led to disciplinary action against several high-ranking officers, including the demotion of the police chief. It sparked allegations that a deputy prosecutor had been secretly recorded during conversations with police investigators.

Judge John Surbeck blasted Indianapolis police during the trial after learning a police major had been emailing summaries from the courtroom.

Bisard has been suspended without pay since the crash. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said the department would move to fire him now that the verdict is in.

Police Chief Rick Hite, who arrived in Indianapolis after the Bisard crash, said the last three years have been difficult for the victims and the city. But he stressed that the department has "learned many lessons" as a result of the case and made policy changes.

"Because of these changes we are a better police department," he said. "We will continue to move forward, to pray for those victimized in this incident and hope they find a measure of peace in the future."

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. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

ADVERTISEMENT