State orders CVS to preserve surveillance footage
Update: CVS released the following statement Thursday:
It is CVS/pharmacy's policy to cooperate with any and all law enforcement or governmental investigations and we are fully cooperating with the Marion County prosecutor's office in their investigation of the August 6 vehicular accident. In fact, a county investigator and a representative from the FBI reviewed approximately 3 hours of surveillance video from an Indianapolis CVS store earlier this week. It appears that a misunderstanding occurred during a request to review footage at another CVS location and we are taking immediate steps to correct this. We believe we are already in compliance with the court order and we will continue to cooperate with county prosecutors in their investigation.
Indianapolis - A Marion County judge ordered Wednesday that the manager of a north side CVS store is not to destroy surveillance tape that could show whether Officer David Bisard purchased alcohol there 48 hours before he was involved in a deadly crash.
Officer Bisard was charged with reckless homicide and other counts after he drove his cruiser into two motorcycles on Aug. 6th. Eric Wells died, and two others, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly, were critically injured. Weekly remains in a coma.
According to the state's motion, it has received information that Officer Bisard, while in uniform, may have purchased alcoholic beverages at the store in the 5900 block of East 71st Street.
Prosecutors originally charged Officer Bisard with drunk driving-related counts after learning he had a blood alcohol content of .19, but those charges were dropped on a technicality.
Just days ago, Eyewitness News first reported that letters were sent to the prosecutor's office from Weekly's family after they were told someone may have seen Officer Bisard in the store buying vodka.
The state says it is seeking to get the evidence as part of its case and sent an investigator over to review the recordings but say the investigator was unable to do so "due to the refusal by CVS personnel to allow him access to the recordings or to view any recordings."
The state says "it has concerns that CVS may destroy, hide, or tape over the footage." The state then asked the court to require "CVS to preserve and maintain this potential evidence until the state has the opportunity to obtain a court order."
"I think that's good news," said Bruce Kehoe, attorney for Kurt Weekly. "The importance of the evidence is that it is a violation for a police officer to go into a business like CVS in uniform carrying your gun and buying a large bottle of vodka. That really is risk-taking behavior that shows, wow, somebody was really willing to risk disciplinary action to go buy a bottle of vodka. That's really a concern - a departmental concern and then to have the aftermath that we've seen that has played out here is troubling. Hopefully it will come to the light of day."
The documents further state that because of the time required to file the necessary paperwork to force CVS to turn over the surveillance footage, the prosecutor's office wants to ensure that the potential evidence remains intact.
The state must now file a subpoena to obtain the footage.
Kurt Weekly, who remains in a coma, almost got a visit from Mayor Greg Ballard Wednesday. According to Ballard's staff, the mayor was turned away at Methodist Hospital. Mr. Weekly is a "no information" patient; therefore the hospital could not give him a room number. While Kehoe says Weekly's family appreciates acts of kindness he's not sure what the mayor wanted to accomplish.
"Mr. Weekly is comatose, and not really up to communication," said Kehoe.
The internal investigation's focus has also turned to emergency crews on scene the day of the crash. Sources tell Eyewitness News that police accident investigators will be questioned.
Channel 13 has also learned someone on scene told dispatchers not to send members of the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team.
Police records show Bisard agreed to a blood draw at 1:48 pm, at least two hours after the deadly crash. Investigators are also looking at why the blood draw happened where it did and what went wrong.