One motorcyclist was killed, and another and passenger were injured in the Aug. 6 accident. The officer was responding to a backup call, and the motorcyclists were stopped at an intersection. Witnesses say he struck them at about 65 miles an hour. It was about 11:30 a.m. on that Friday.
Here’s a link to photographs taken shortly after the Indianapolis crash: http://www.theindychannel.com/slideshow/24541411/detail.htmlindex.html?currentSlide=17&taf=ind
You can imagine, based on the damage to the police car, the force that went into the crash.
As the case has developed and been reported on in the media, it is drawing national attention for a number of reasons. It’s shocking to hear that a police officer is charged with felony drunk driving and reckless homicide WHILE ON DUTY! Then came the reports that this officer’s blood alcohol sample, which reported a 0.19 BAL (more than twice Indiana’s limit of 0.08) had been improperly taken, and then delivered long after the proper time window for handling. The alcohol-related charges against the officer had to be dropped.
Four important Indiana police officials have been demoted or reassigned from the force’s Fatal Alcohol Crash Team based on the incident, and the FBI is investigating the police investigation of the crash.
This is such a terrible incident – first the shocking, avoidable, inexcusable collision, then the botched investigation which is at best gross incompetence and at wort ann apparent cover-up. I’ve copied the text of some of the developing news stories below, with links. I’ll add more news to this post or new posts as this case proceeds.
Just what we need, one more thing to worry about on the road. Ride safe, and keep your guard up!
Thanks for reading, and ride safe!
ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
“On-duty police officer charged with drunk driving in crash that killed motorcyclist”
(Aug. 11, American Motorcyclist Association)
An Indianapolis police officer who crashed into two motorcycles, killing one rider and injuring two others, has been charged with seven felony counts of drunk driving and reckless homicide.
Motorcyclist Eric Wells, 30, was killed in the crash. Kurt Weekly, 44, was critically injured and Mary Mills, 47, was hospitalized in fair condition.
Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski said tests showed that the officer, David Bisard, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent at the time of the crash, which happened at about 11:20 a.m. on Aug. 6. A driver is considered legally drunk in Indiana with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent.
Bisard reportedly was responding to a request for help on a felony warrant at the time of the crash. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.
The AMA expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and will report on developments in the case.
“Officer’s Blood Draw Plagued With Problems”
Sources: Other Officer Caught Technician’s Mistakes
(Aug. 24, Indianapolis 6News)
INDIANAPOLIS — A controversial blood draw from an Indianapolis police officer accused of causing a crash that left one motorcyclist dead and two others injured had more problems than investigators first admitted, 6News has learned.
Last week, all alcohol-related charges were dropped against Officer David Bisard in the Aug. 6 crash after it was revealed that a blood draw that indicated he was intoxicated was inadmissible because proper procedures weren’t followed in obtaining the evidence.
On Monday, sources close to the investigation told 6News’ Jack Rinehart other issues that could have further compromised the blood draw.
The technician at the occupational clinic where the blood draw was taken first mistakenly cleaned Bisard’s arm with rubbing alcohol, instead of an antiseptic, and then attempted to collect samples using two vials with expired freshness dates, sources told Rinehart.
Lawrence Police Lt. Stan Stephens, a member of the multi-jurisdictional Fatal Alcohol Crash Team, was with Bisard at the time of the blood draw, and corrected the technician on both counts, sources said.
But Stephens, who was supposed to deliver the blood samples to the Indianapolis police property room, first had lunch and then visited a friend at the nearby Arrestee Processing Center, delaying the delivery by more than an hour, sources said.
Lawrence police would not comment on the accusations against Stephens.
“This is an ongoing criminal prosecution, and I don’t think that I can say anything in this regard,” Lawrence Police Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff told Rinehart on Monday.
A member of the Marion County Crime Lab said it’s highly unlikely the delay in getting the evidence to the lab and its potential exposure to adverse heat and weather conditions affected the quality of the result, which showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent.
Over the weekend, three high-ranking members of Indianapolis police — Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce, Deputy Chief of Operations Ron Hicks and Cmdr. John Conley — were demoted in connection with the botched Bisard investigation, while Lt. George Crooks, the former head of the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team, was reassigned last week.
Police and the FBI have begun a review of the original investigation.
Bisard, a nine-year veteran of the department, was suspended from the force pending termination. He still faces charges of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness.
He was on duty when he plowed into a group of motorcyclists stopped at a red light, killing Eric Wells, 30, and injuring Kurt Weekly, 44, and Mary Mills, 47.
“Drunk-driving charges dropped against Indianapolis police officer who crashed into motorcyclists”
(Aug. 26, AMA)
An Indianapolis police officer who was allegedly drunk on the job when he plowed into a group of motorcyclists with his patrol car — killing one and critically injuring two others — has been charged with one count of reckless homicide and two counts of criminal recklessness.
The officer, David Bisard, 36, was initially charged with seven felony counts of drunk driving and reckless homicide. But prosecutors chose to drop the drunk driving charges after it was revealed that investigators at the scene did not follow proper procedures for conducting a blood draw for a sobriety test.
So even though the test results revealed that Bisard had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 — or more than twice the 0.08 limit to be considered legally drunk in Indiana — those results can’t be used in court.
Dropping the drunk driving charges left the original reckless homicide charge, which is a Class C felony that carries a penalty of two to eight years in prison. Prosecutors then added the two new criminal recklessness charges, which are Class D felonies and carry maximum penalties of three years in prison.
The charges stem from an Aug. 6 crash in Indianapolis in which Bisard crashed his patrol car into the back of two stopped motorcycles and narrowly missed a third, killing motorcyclist Eric Wells, 30, and critically injuring Kurt Weekly, 44, and his passenger, Mary Mills, 47.
Bisard, a canine officer, reportedly was responding to a request for help from other officers on a felony warrant when the 11:20 a.m. crash occurred. Officials said he had his emergency lights on and siren blaring at the time.
The motorcyclists were stopped in traffic at the intersection of 56th Street and Brendon Way South Drive when the crash occurred. Investigators believe Bisard was traveling at least 65 mph when he slammed on his brakes to try to avoid hitting the motorcyclists.
The incident has created an uproar in Indianapolis, prompting Bisard’s lawyer to ask the court for a change of venue so that the trial can be held elsewhere, believing his client can’t get a fair trial in Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking police officer has been demoted for his role in the crash investigation and the FBI has been brought in to look at how police handled the case. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Lt. George Crooks was demoted from his position as commander of the department’s hit-and-run unit and as coordinator of the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Bisard, a nine-year veteran of the Indianapolis police force, has a history of aggressive driving while on the job. He reportedly had five minor on-the-job crashes on his record before this fatal crash.