Day 14: Jurors to hear testimony from alcohol experts
Last Updated: 35 days ago
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Lawyers rested their case in the defense of suspended Indianapolis Metro Police Officer David Bisard on Thursday afternoon.
Defense attorneys called on two alcohol experts Thursday, and many said their last witness was perhaps their best.
On Friday, the State will present at least one rebuttal witnesses.
On Monday, closing arguments will begin and the case will go to the jury.
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One witness testified about Bisard's mandatory blood test and the alleged mistakes made in drawing, its storage and testing.
The second witness is a behavioral expert who testified about the impact of alcohol on a person and their ability to mask the symptoms after large amounts of consumption.
Bisard is accused of DUI in the August 2010 crash where Eric Wells was killed and Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly were injured.
UPDATE 4 p.m.
For their second expert witness of the day, defense lawyers for David Bisard called Dr. Fran Gengo, an associate professor of neurological sciences for the Dent Institute in Amherst New York.
Gengo said his life's work has been studying the effects of alcohol on humans.
After studying all of the evidence, witness statements, lab results, news and surveillance videos, radio traffic and timelines, Gengo told the court he'd concluded that there were consistent assessments that Bisard had not been drinking.
In the first moments after the crash, Bisard used his police radio and began ordering arriving officers on what streets and intersections to shut down. Dr. Gengo said that Bisard had demonstrated use of some of the highest executive levels of the brain, that his actions were quick and deliberate.
He also testified that had Bisard tested at .19 BAC the afternoon of the crash, Bisard's blood alcohol at the time of the crash would have been at least .22.
By definition Gengo said, that would have made Bisard a sloppy drunk.
"He would have been a sloppy drunk," Gengo said. "Had his concentrations been higher earlier, he would not have been able to ambulate. That doesn't fit with any descriptions of Officer Bisard."
"Even if someone is an active chronic alcoholic, if their brain is exposed to constant drinking … still, someone is going to suffer adverse effects," Gengo said.
Gengo also presented different drinking scenarios to achieve a blood-alcohol level of .19 at the time of his test. He said Bisard would have had to consume 14 to 16-drinks the night before the crash, which would have peaked his blood alcohol level to .4, a near fatal dose.
Drinking night into morning, he would have had a .1 baseline at midnight and seven to ten more drinks in the morning.
And if he started drinking in the morning, he would have needed to consume 12 to 15-drinks by 8am.
Gengo concluded that Bisard's actions didn't correlate with anyone who had been legally intoxicated at the time of the crash.
UPDATE 1 p.m.
Bisard's defense team called expert witness Dr. Robert Belotto to testify. Belotto is a pharmacist affiliated with Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He told the court he's owned his own consulting practice since 1995, and has testified in more than 70 cases.
Lawyers for the defense questioned Belotto about alleged errors in the handling of two vials of Bisard's blood taken after the crash. Specifically, defense lawyers questioned Belotto about how fermentation might occur in a blood sample.
"[Fermentation] happens right away," Belotto said. "When I'm doing an analysis, it happens all the time. I don't think anyone has a zero rate. You can follow every procedure and still get fermentation."
Defense lawyers stated that Bisard's blood was drawn on a Friday afternoon, and not tested until the following Monday afternoon. Belotto was asked whether the delay could result in fermentation.
"Oh, absolutely," Belotto said. "In a hospital setting, we try to test right away, within hours."
Belotto also told the court that because of apparent high "peaks" in Bisard's blood results, the samples should have been tested for glucose content as well.
Prosecutors cross-examined Belotto, asking him if he knew of anything wrong with the results of either of Bisard's blood vials.
"No, no one does," Belotto said.
The defense was expected to bring one more witness Thursday afternoon.
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