Crash victim's parents speak about IMPD investigation
Scott Swan/Eyewitness News
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. - Even as a baby Eric Wells was sitting on a motorcycle. He wore a Harley shirt as a young boy and bought his first bike this summer. His mother, Mary, points to the picture of her son standing next to the bike.
"That was his pride and joy, when he got his motorcycle," says Mary Wells.
Tragically, only a few weeks after getting the bike Eric Wells was struck and killed on it.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida was where Eric grew up. He used to go diving for lobsters in the Atlantic Ocean. He carried out a Christmas tradition of giving gifts to needy children.
Education was important to Eric. He earned his bachelor's degree, a master's degree and was working on his Ph.D. He married his high school sweetheart, Luisa, a former Florida cop.
Their wedding anniversary was this month. The couple enjoyed taking his parents to Indiana wineries. They wanted to travel and have children. Aaron and Mary Wells have pictures of Eric and his brother throughout their Deerfield Beach home.
"I like being able to look at my children and look at them when they were babies and look at them as young adults. And look at them as men," says Mary Wells. "Eric would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He'd give you his last dollar if you needed it more than him. That's just who he was. If he hadn't been my child, he was someone that I wish would have been my child," said Wells.
Eric Wells, 30, was struck and killed when IMPD Officer David Bisard plowed into a group of motorcycles August 6. A blood test, taken two hours after the crash, revealed Officer Bisard had a blood-alcohol content of .19 - more than twice the legal limit. Prosecutors dropped DUI charges against Bisard, because the blood draw was not taken at a certified facility. The victim's parents believe IMPD investigators at the crash scene knew Bisard was intoxicated and took him to a clinic instead of Wishard Hospital.
"I was shocked"
I flew to South Florida to interview Aaron and Mary Wells. For two hours, they opened up to Channel 13 for an exclusive interview. The following is an excerpt of the conversation:
Scott Swan: "How did you learn about the crash?"
Mary Wells: "It was my daughter-in-law. She told me that there had been an accident and Eric was dead."
Scott Swan: "When you got the news that Officer Bisard tested more than twice the legal limit, what did you think at that point?"
Mary Wells: "I was shocked."
Aaron Wells: "It took us awhile to understand what the prosecutor was telling us. 'You mean the police officer was drunk? What do you mean, the police officer was drunk?' I mean it is a tremendous shock on top of a tremendous shock."
Mary Wells: "What you thought was an accident wasn't an accident. It was no longer an accident."
Scott Swan: "What was it?"
Mary Wells: "It was murder. He used his vehicle. Officer Bisard made the choice to drink. He made the choice to drive. He made the choice to speed. He took those choices away from Eric, Mary (Mills) and Kurt (Weekly) and even George (Burt) and the vehicles that were in the road with him. He took his car and used his car as a weapon."
Aaron Wells: "You murdered my son and you critically hurt several others and their families."
Scott Swan: "What was your reaction that the blood alcohol results would be thrown out?"
Mary Wells: "It was like another kick in the teeth. It was like having another piece of our heart taken out."
Scott Swan: "The police chief tells me that everyone at that scene did not believe that he (Bisard) was intoxicated."
Mary Wells: "You can look at the films and tell. If you sit and look at the tapes, watch his actions. He doesn't remove his glasses. He can't hardly close his door. He locks it several times. He has no idea of what he's doing. He has not gone and checked on the victims that he just hit."
Scott Swan: "When the police chief says all the police officers on the scene didn't see any evidence that he (Bisard) was intoxicated, what do you believe?"
Mary Wells: "I believe they're lying."
Scott Swan: "Do you believe there was a cover-up?"
Aaron Wells: "Absolutely. Absolutely. Beyond a doubt."
Scott Swan: "What was your reaction that Officer Bisard could keep his driver's license?"
Mary Wells: "I said a prayer that no one else would get killed. My prayer is that no one else would go through what Aaron and I and Eric's wife and Eric's brother are going through. This guy has not suffered any consequences for his actions. He has been protected."
Scott Swan: "The mayor has said this is a failure of leadership. Who's failed?"
Mary Wells: "All of them. It's not just one. It's all of them. It's all of them. I believe the system's failed."
Aaron Wells: "He (Mayor Greg Ballard) has the ability to step forward and do things that he has not done. He could have fired David Bisard. He could have done that knowing that David Bisard has dishonored the badge, dishonored his department and dishonored the people of Indianapolis. He could have called in the state police. They would have been more than willing to take this investigation on. Why didn't he call in the state police? We pleaded with him to do that. I hope the FBI is able to uncover the obstruction of justice that's gone on here."
Scott Swan: "So, did the mayor fail you?"
Aaron Wells: "I think the mayor has failed us in several ways. Mayor Ballard has a disaster on his hands. So, what did the mayor do in this whole disaster with this department? Not too much of anything. This is Mayor Ballard's police department and he really needs to step up and be in charge."
Aaron Wells: "You've already taken an oath to protect other people. To drink excessively like that at any time is unacceptable."
Mary Wells: "This man (Bisard) should have been fired on the spot."
Aaron Wells: "When he (Bisard) crashed into these motorcycles, he got out of his car - and this is numerous witnesses that all reported the same thing - he got out of his car and yelled at my dying son on the pavement and the other two that were lying out in the middle of the street critically hurt - yelled at them as to why they didn't get out of the way."
Scott Swan: "Should anyone lose their jobs over this."
Mary Wells: "A whole lot of them. Yes."
Scott Swan: "Who?"
Mary Wells: "All of them who's involved in it. They need to ask themselves, if that was my family, would I still have acted the same way if my family was plowed down."
Scott Swan: "This crash and your son's death has triggered a lot of support on Facebook and a lot of anger toward the police department. What do you think about that?"
"It's not the cops, it's the system."
Mary Wells: "It's not the cops, it's the system. It's not all police officers that are bad. You have a handful here and Indianapolis is having a problem now and that's what people are tired of hearing. Suspended without pay? I'm sorry, that's not enough. He ought to be in jail. If it was you or I, we'd still be sitting in jail. That's what they're upset about."
Aaron Wells: "We're not mad at policemen and policewomen. There is a group here that needs to be cleaned up, cleaned out and a fresh start for this department. Some day we can look back soon and say Eric died but there was a reason for it, something good came from it."
Scott Swan: "What do you think of the way police chief Paul Ciesielski has handled this case?"
Aaron Wells: "I don't think he's been quite truthful and I think that's been proven."
Scott Swan: "How do you think the public safety director (Frank Straub) has handled this?"
Aaron Wells: "Badly, extremely badly. They're (police officers) trained to see those things (intoxication). They have too many years. Did they take his (Bisard's) glasses off? Did they check his eyes? They obviously didn't do a breathalyzer. They're trained to walk up into your face so they can detect these things. They were there to protect him."
Scott Swan: "Your family has questions about the black duffle bag that Officer Bisard had with him. Why is that important?"
Mary Wells: "Why was he allowed to take this black bag out of his vehicle? The dog, I can understand - that's a living, breathing thing. But why was that bag so important to him that he got the bag before he got the dog. I believe the alcohol was in the bag."
Aaron Wells: "The black bag never left his hand. According to witnesses, when he grabbed it out of the car, locked his car, he had the dog in one hand, the black bag in the other."
Mary Wells: "If this was not a cop, the person that was driving wouldn't have been able to walk away with anything out of the vehicle. The vehicle would have been searched."
Mary Wells: "It has destroyed our lives. We're not the same people we were before August 6th. A piece of our hearts and our lives has been taken away from us. This has devastated us. The picture I have here is the last picture I have of my son. It's the last picture that was taken. It was taken five days before he died and I'll never get any more pictures. I'll never hear that he loves me. I'll never hear him tell his dad 'Happy Birthday,' those are gone forever for us. We have lost half of our family. The hurt is always going to be there. We're always going to have that hole."
Aaron Wells: "Our lives will never ever be the same - ever."
Scott Swan: "If you had the chance to talk to him personally, what would you tell Officer Bisard?"
Mary Wells: "I wouldn't. I have nothing to say to him."
Aaron Wells: "I think I would have to tell him that I hope he never has to feel the hurt that he has brought on to so many other people."
Scott Swan: "Could you ever forgive him for what he's done?"
Mary Wells: "No, no. He's taken something from my life and I don't think I could ever forgive him for that. If this had been an honest accident, then my heart would have gone out to him because he's the victim too. But it's not. He's not a victim. He's the perpetrator and the only reason he got away with what he got away with, is because he has a badge so I'll never forgive him."
Aaron Wells: "I want the kind of justice that if it had been police motorcyclists on the way to lunch - that's the kind of justice we want."
Scott Swan: "What should mayor Ballard do?"
Aaron Wells "Take this opportunity to make this the best police department in the country. And not just chop a few heads and we'll let it go at that. There's a lot here. A lot wrong."
Scott Swan: "How has faith helped you through this?"
Mary Wells: 'It's been a big support. It doesn't mean that I'm not mad at God. But He takes care of me when I need Him and I know that. It (faith) is what's kept me sane, I hope."
Aaron Wells: "Our lives have been shattered. And you need that faith. There's a lot more bad days than good days."
A spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard issued this response into questions raised by the Wells interview:
"Bisard could not be fired because he has merit protection. We have suspended him without pay pending termination. Need to wait for Merit Board process. No State Police - they are part of the task force (FACT team) and are local with connections to IMPD. FBI brought in agents from outside Indianapolis to conduct the investigation. Mayor is moving forward with reforms to make IMPD best department in the country. These reforms were announced on Saturday; all dealt with police conduct and duty of police to report activity that could affect public safety. The removal of the bag is part of the investigation into what happened."
- Robert Vane, spokesman for Mayor Ballard
IMPD officer investigation - Stories and video related to the investigation into IMPD Officer David Bisard.