Attorneys For Embattled Officer Ask For Venue Change
7:31 AM, Jan 14, 2011
An Indianapolis police officer involved in a fatal crash in which prosecutors said he was drinking while on duty was in court Friday for another initial hearing after the new Marion County prosecutor dropped and then re-filed charges against him.Officer David Bisard again faces seven felony counts in connection with the Aug. 6 crash that killed Eric Wells and injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly.Earlier this week, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry reversed a decision made by former Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who dropped alcohol-related charges against Bisard because he believed blood-alcohol test evidence wouldn't be admissible in court because the way it was obtained didn't meet a state statute.
Bisard faces charges of operating while under the influence causing death, a Class B felony; operating while under the influence causing death, a Class C felony; reckless homicide, a Class C felony; and four counts of operating while under the influence causing serious injury, Class C felonies.Prosecutors said a blood draw showed that Bisard had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 percent two hours after the crash, but the blood test was taken at a clinic instead of a hospital.Curry said he believes the admissibility of the blood results should be determined by a judge, and that's why he decided to re-file alcohol-related charges.In the aftermath of the crash, police and FBI agents interviewed 67 witnesses, and none of them said Bisard was impaired in the moments after the crash.Crash survivor George Burt said Bisard didn't appear impaired to him, but he questioned whether those involved were truly impartial."I only saw him for a second, that's when I told him to help me get the the bike off Kurt," he said. "I wasn't looking for it. And what they're saying about they have 67 witnesses. Yeah, how many were looking to see if the guy was intoxicated?"The case and subsequent investigations sparked outrage in the community, with allegations of a police cover-up, fueled in part by anguished family members of the victims pushing for justice. An internal investigation concluded that poor management at the scene of the crash resulted in a botched response.Bisard's attorneys have requested to move the trial out of Indianapolis. They stressed Friday that Bisard is deeply upset over the crash."He's always continued to want me to say that this is a tragedy. It was a tragic collision," said attorney John Kautzman. "Our hearts and our thoughts and prayers and his family's (thoughts and prayers) still go out to the Wells' family and all the families that were affected by this tragedy. And that is something that he still wants everyone to know."Bisard is set for another court appearance on March 25.