FORT WAYNE, Ind. - An Allen County judge sentenced former Indianapolis police officer and convicted deadly drunk driver David Bisard Tuesday afternoon to 16 years with three years suspended. That means he'll serve 13 years behind bars and three years on probation.
The sentencing came just one day after Bisard resigned from IMPD and three weeks after he was found guilty of driving drunk, causing a fatal crash more than three years ago.
Judge John Surbeck sentenced Bisard at the end of a 1:30 p.m. hearing. With the charges Bisard was convicted of, the judge was able to sentence him to up to 29 years.
"The cumulative sentence, therefore, is a term of 16 years of which the first 13 years are ordered executed at the Indiana Department of Correction. The remaining 3 years of said sentence are ordered suspended, subject to terms and conditions of probation, but specifically to include drug and alcohol treatment as well as psychological assessment and treatment," the sentencing statement said.
Bisard apologized and expressed remorse in a statement during the sentencing hearing.
"I take responsibility for my actions. When asked what I would tell the victims, I would say how terribly sorry I am for the crash that killed Eric Wells and injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly," Bisard said. "I'm not begging for your forgiveness. I am remorseful beyond words. Your honor, I will seek counseling and treatment for depression and alcohol."
Bisard accepted responsibility, but denied he was intoxicated.
On Nov. 5, an Allen County jury found Bisard guilty of all nine charges lodged against him after he crashed his patrol car into a group of motorcyclists in August of 2010. The collision killed Eric Wells and gravely injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly.
Mary Mills spoke during the hearing about the pain she has suffered since the accident.
"I do understand, we're human and we make mistakes. I would like to see David Bisard stay in jail or prison until he can accept what he has done. I understand this is a hardship on his family. It's a hardship on my family, and I hope that he remembers on a day-to-day basis what this has done, because I will live with this day to day. I hope he gets help, because he needs help," Mills said.
The prosecution argued Bisard was drunk and driving recklessly, leaning on expert testimony and two contested vials of Bisard’s blood, which showed he had a 0.19 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the fatal wreck. Investigators also said he was speeding in excess of 70 miles per hour on a non-emergency call right before the crash.
The families of the victims said the verdict couldn’t bring back what was lost, but they said they did feel justice was served in the outcome of the trial.
“(We hope Bisard) will receive the help that he needs (and) that he never again hurts or takes another innocent life,” Aaron Wells, father of Eric Wells, said.
Mary Mills and her husband Kurt Weekly -- the two injured in the crash -- said all they asked for was justice and they felt like they finally got it when that guilty verdict was read in early November.
Bisard's wife Lora, also spoke at the sentencing hearing. She said she felt like she lost her husband and her best friend on Aug. 6, 2010. She told the judge her daughters need both parents to raise them.
"He has shed many tears and felt imprisoned over this. I believe a treatment option would help Dave and our children. I believe he could help other people cope with other stresses in their lives," Lora Bisard said.
Officials said a pre-sentencing investigation conducted by the Allen County Probation Department weighed heavily in Judge Surbeck’s sentence for Bisard.
The investigation reportedly included assessments of Bisard’s family background, his education, his attitudes and also his possible substance abuse.
Lead prosecutor Denise Robinson said she would ask the judge that Bisard serve his sentences one after the other, rather than serving them concurrently.
"As law enforcement officers, we take an oath. No one should be outside the law. No one should be above the law. Society has the right to expect that we are held to a higher standard," Robinson said during the sentencing hearing.