Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

November 6, 2013

Indiana officer convicted in fatal 2010 crash

Case has roiled city's police department for three years.

(Continued)

New Prosecutor Terry Curry later reinstated the charges, and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in December that the blood tests could be admitted into evidence.

“Now we don’t have to worry about ... every other month, coming back to court and wondering, what next?” said Mary Mills, 50, who was badly injured in the crash with her husband, Kurt Weekly, 47. She said she received her disability retirement last week, and Weekly struggles with short-term memory problems.

Bisard was initially free on bond and was allowed to keep his driver’s license while awaiting trial. But he was ordered jailed after his arrest in April on misdemeanor drunken driving charges after a pickup truck he was driving ran into a guard rail along a winding, narrow road in Indianapolis. No one was injured.

A blood test showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 percent, according to court documents. The state’s legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent.

The case drew intense local media coverage as police officers’ handling of the crash scene and evidence stirred public distrust and led to disciplinary action against several high-ranking officers, including the demotion of the police chief. It sparked allegations that a deputy prosecutor had been secretly recorded during conversations with police investigators.

Judge John Surbeck blasted Indianapolis police during the trial after learning a police major had been emailing summaries from the courtroom.

Bisard has been suspended without pay since the crash. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said the department would move to fire him now that the verdict is in.

Police Chief Rick Hite, who arrived in Indianapolis after the Bisard crash, said the last three years have been difficult for the victims and the city. But he stressed that the department has “learned many lessons” as a result of the case and made policy changes.

“Because of these changes we are a better police department,” he said. “We will continue to move forward, to pray for those victimized in this incident and hope they find a measure of peace in the future.”

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