AMA Legal News
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.