Juror dismissed before opening arguments in David Bisard trial


A juror in the trial for Indianapolis Metro Police Officer David Bisard was dismissed Wednesday before opening arguments got underway.

Bisard is accused of crashing his squad car into two motorcycles, killing Eric Wells and critically injuring Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills. 

Bisard faces nine charges including reckless homicide and drunken driving stemming from the August 6, 2010, crash. The trial beginning Wednesday could last as long as two weeks.

The juror who was dismissed has an acquaintance whose brother works for the Indianapolis Metro Police Department. That acquaintance told the juror that Bisard was "guilty." He also told the juror about Bisard's second arrest for driving under the influence, and said that IMPD has an epidemic drinking problem.

When asked by the judge if he could remain impartial, the juror said, "I'd like to think I could. I don't know." 

Judge John Surbeck told man, "This is not your fault.  I appreciate your effort."

The 12-member jury is now down to two alternate jurors. Prosecutor Terry Curry doubts that will be an issue.

"In the normal course of things you wouldn't expect in a two-, three-, four-week trial to lose any jurors. let alone two," said Curry.

Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson began opening remarks describing events leading up to accident.

"Will the evidence show David Bisard was falling down drunk that day? No. Will evidence show David Bisard was intoxicated? Yes," she said.

The prosecution is out to prove David Bisard's deadly crash was a tragedy, but also a reckless crime.

Denise Robinson revealed computer data gathered from Bisard's wrecked patrol car showed he was going 76 miles an hour moments before the crash.  Despite his sober appearance, blood tests proved he was significantly intoxicated.

In his opening remarks, defense attorney John Kautzman countered, calling the crash a terrible human tragedy.

The defense claims that the same computer data showing Bisard's speed also shows the car's antilock brakes failed.  Kautzman calls the blood evidence flawed. 

Testifying for Bisard, police medical workers, and others with him that morning, Kautzman promised jurors, "They will tell you there is no way Officer David Bisard was drunk."

Kautzman also told jurors, "It's not about a heartbreaking collision. You are here to prove this cop is not a criminal."

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in December that prosecutors could admit two vials of Bisard's blood showing he had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice Indiana's legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The case was moved from Indianapolis to Allen Superior Court in Fort Wayne because of extensive publicity.