IMPD officer involved in fatal crash faces multiple charges - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

IMPD officer involved in fatal crash faces multiple charges

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Officer David Bisard Officer David Bisard
Public Safety Director Frank Straub Public Safety Director Frank Straub
Mayor Greg Ballard Mayor Greg Ballard
Frank Straub, left, looks on as Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski speaks. Frank Straub, left, looks on as Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski speaks.
Officer Bisard arrived at the jail booking station with his attorney Wednesday afternoon. Officer Bisard arrived at the jail booking station with his attorney Wednesday afternoon.
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Indianapolis - Police arrested the Indianapolis Metro Police officer involved in the crash that killed a motorcycle rider last week.

Investigators say Officer David Bisard had a blood-alcohol content of .19 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

Bisard faces several felony charges. He surrendered at the Arrestee Processing Center Wednesday afternoon flanked by his attorney and wife. He did not answer any of WTHR's questions concerning charges against him.

His bosses Wednesday call Bisard's case "unacceptable" and said, "It's a failure of leadership." They also apologized to the families of the victims.

The investigation is ongoing but Chief of Police Paul Ciesielski expects to recommend termination for Bisard.

Charges

Wednesday afternoon, the prosecutor's office revealed the charges that Bisard will face.

They include:

Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC .15 or higher causing death (Class B felony)
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death (Class C felony)
Reckless homicide (Class C felony)
Two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury (Class D felony)
Two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC .08 or higher causing serious bodily injury (Class D felony)

Mayor comments

Mayor Greg Ballard spoke for the first time about the crash. He called it a tragedy, and expressed sympathy for the families of the victims.

"What happened is absolutely unacceptable," said the mayor, speaking at a news conference Wednesday. "Police officers don't just obey the law. They serve the law. They absolutely must be held to the highest standards by me, by the public safety department at by the law-abiding public."

Accident scene

Eyewitness News reported Tuesday that Officer Bisard, 36, tested positive for alcohol following a fatal crash last Friday.

Bisard was running lights and sirens with his K-9 Brix last Friday morning to help with a felony warrant. When he got to Brendon Way Drive on East 56th Street, he crashed into two motorcycles, killing 30-year-old Eric Wells.

Kurt Weekly, 44, remained in critical condition as of Tuesday night, and Mary Mills, 47, had been upgraded to fair condition.

One of the riders told Channel 13 they could not move to the right at the intersection because of cars already in the right lane and that the left turn lane was open for Bisard to possibly pass as they waited at the red light.

Just before the crash Bisard got an oil change and had his children in the cruiser before starting work around 8:30 Friday morning.

"Took his children to a soccer camp, went back home and took a shower and put his uniform on. He was westbound on 56th when he received the run to assist," said Chief Ciesielski.

Straub: No indication of alcohol

Public Safety Director Frank Straub said initially there was no indication that Officer Bisard was intoxicated. He said once investigators got the results of the blood alcohol content test, which came back as .19, they began to investigate.

"There were many people there including members of my executive staff that spoke to Officer Bisard and saw no signs of intoxication," added Metro Police Chief Ciesielski.

The chief also said he was "shocked, disappointed and quite frankly pretty darn angry that this would happen." He insisted the "investigation was done correctly, thoroughly, totally above board."

Ciesielski said he would be making a recommendation for Bisard's termination to the Police Merit Board.

He said the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team was on hand to investigate the crash from the beginning, not because alcohol use was initially suspected, but because of the thoroughness required following a fatal crash. He said investigators did not learn of the BAC results until Monday night. Investigators are still working to determine exactly how fast Bisard was driving at the time of the crash.

City officials spoke at a 10:30 am news conference. Bisard's bosses apologized for the accident.

"I wanted to speak from my heart. First of all, I want to express my sympathy to the family as well," said Chief Ciesielski.

Apologies also came from Mayor Ballard, who also suspects officers who worked closely with Bisard may have known of a drinking problem.

"Someone knew of the human weakness that was present and failed to act or to inform others," Ballard.

"This was an unthinkable misjudgment by Officer Bisard," the mayor said, calling the accident "preventable."

The mayor added, "This is a difficult time for our officers. They have sympathy for the victims too. They're concerned about Mr. Bisard and they know that his family is suffering also."

"Our police officers know that this has an impact on the trust they have with the public. For public safety to be job one, the police and the public must work together," he said.

Before heading off to another event, the mayor said, "This one hurts. There's no question about that."

See the charges against Officer Bisard.

This story was compiled from several reports by reporters Steve Jefferson and David MacAnally.

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