Change of venue decision delayed for IMPD officer
Steve Jefferson/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Prosecutors in the David Bisard fatal police car crash got a victory in court Friday.
That victory centers around Bisard's attorney trying to get the trial moved out of Marion County. The judge ruled on the motion and the deputy prosecutor dropped a bombshell after court about DUI blood draws.
"We have never taken a blood draw at occupational health center," said Edward Zych, FACT deputy prosecutor.
That's the bombshell dropped following court Friday about the botched blood draw for Officer David Bisard, who faces felony charges in connection with the Aug. 6th crash.
The deputy prosecutor for the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team attended the hearing for a change of venue based on pretrial publicity.
"Protocol and training has been to take the person to Wishard. If fact if you examine misdemeanors, DUIs, misdemeanors happen all around the county, they can be on the north side of the county or whatever, they still take the person to Wishard," said Zych.
But Bisard was taken to the Methodist Occupational Health Center for a post-accident blood draw. Prosecutors say he slammed his cruiser into two motorcycles August 6th on E. 56th Street near I-465. The blood draw, which showed he had a Blood Alcohol Content of .19, was taken around two hours after the crash.
The crash killed biker Eric Wells and injured two others, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly. Weekly remains in a coma.
Criminal Court Judge Grant Hawkins is holding off for now on moving the trial out of Marion County. It's a temporary victory for prosecutors.
"Obviously I think the judge made the right decision, take it under advisement, wait and see how the case progresses," said Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
Wells family attorney Linda Pence believes media attention has a role in the case.
"Without the publicity that has gone on this would not be fully investigated and no just conclusion would occur," said Pence.
Officer David Bisard stayed quiet leaving court. His attorney shielded him from questions.
"No need to ask those types of questions. We are not going to comment things. You heard the presentation before the judge. He has it under advisement. We will wait for his ruling," said John Kautzmann.
That ruling could come as Bisard gets closer to a trial date.
Kautzmann argued that local news media, a local TV News Director's commentary, blogs, rallies, public demonstrations, publications about Bisard's alleged Blood Alcohol Content, daily front page newspaper articles and the Facebook pages and comments are items that will prevent his client's fair trial possibilities. Kautzmann held up a newspaper highlighting his client's case.
Judge Grant Hawkins said he wanted to allow some time to see if publicity remains an issue as the case moves along. Bisard's trial likely won't be for another seven to nine months. Hawkins said he would take the change of venue request for the trial under advisement.
Prosecutors dropped all DUI-related charges after botched blood draw procedures despite crime lab results showing a .19 Blood Alcohol Content level. Judge Hawkins ruled against suspending Bisard's license since the DUI charges were dropped.
IMPD policy could change because of the case. Officers involved in any accident could eventually be required to take a breathalyzer test.
"One of the things that has jumped out quickly is the Fire Department for any vehicle accident give firefighters a breathalyzer at the scene. My sense is we'll be moving very quickly in that direction," said Frank Straub, Indianapolis Public Safety Director.
A local CVS store says it is working with investigators on surveillance video that may show Bisard buying alcohol the night before the crash.
Third rally held downtown
A third rally in support of Wells was held by motorcyclists on Monument Circle Friday.
"We hope justice will prevail," said one rider at the rally.
Most around the Circle Friday were there for the Moto GP event, but others came to remember Wells.
"We don't feel like police have a problem with bikers in general," said Mark Morris. "We do feel like, in this case, it's a matter of them trying to protect one of their own."
"I believe they did know what they were doing. I think it was a cover-up," said John Becan.
"Why would they not follow protocol? It worked for all the other cases in the past, why wouldn't they do it in this instance?" said Mary Becan.