FORT WAYNE (AP) — An Indianapolis police officer was convicted Tuesday of driving drunk and causing a fatal crash in a case that has roiled the city’s police department for more than three years.
An Allen County jury deliberated for about seven hours before returning its verdict in the case of Officer David Bisard.
Public safety leaders said they hoped the verdict would end a tumultuous chapter for the city and its police department, while the parents of the man killed said they can return to their home in Florida with “some peace in our minds.”
“Justice has been served. Our son is gone forever, but David Bisard, we can only hope, will receive the help that he needs, that he never again hurts or takes another innocent life,” said Aaron Wells, whose 30-year-old son, Eric, was killed in the crash.
Bisard faced reckless homicide, criminal recklessness, drunken driving and other charges in the August 2010 crash that killed Eric Wells and seriously injured two other motorcyclists.
The case, which was moved to Fort Wayne because of extensive media coverage in Indianapolis, focused on whether Bisard was drunk at the time of the crash and whether blood samples taken during the investigation were mishandled.
Prosecutors said tests showed Bisard had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 percent the day of the crash. But defense attorneys challenged those results, arguing that the blood was drawn at an unauthorized facility and that two vials had been mishandled.
Defense witnesses testified that they saw no signs that Bisard was intoxicated at the crash scene.
The case was marked with turmoil from the beginning. Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi dropped drunken driving charges against Bisard after learning that the blood test showing a 0.19 percent blood alcohol level wasn’t taken by an authorized technician at a hospital as required under state law.