Before taking David Bisard to a local occupational health clinic after his police cruiser slammed into a group of motorcyclists in an intersection, killing one, his fellow police officers stopped at a gas station where he bought a pack of chewing tobacco.
And when they arrived at the clinic to have him checked out and have his blood drawn to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol in his system, Bisard’s lawyers were already present, courtesy of the Fraternal Order of Police, according to FOP Lodge No. 86 President William Owensby.
Bisard, 39, is awaiting an Oct. 14 trial on charges of reckless homicide, operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and criminal recklessness. The charges stem from a 2010 fatal wreck in which Bisard’s squad car crashed into two motorcycles stopped at a traffic light.
Eric Wells, 30, was killed and two others were injured.
At the time of the crash, there were no field sobriety tests and no portable breath tests. He was not under arrest or officially in police custody, according to testimony Monday in a hearing in Allen Superior Court.
The arrangement for the lawyers was part of the FOP’s procedures, according to testimony.
But officers acknowledged having a civilian lawyer at a crime scene was not a policy that would extend to a civilian involved in a fatal crash.
Owensby told the court the FOP paid $250,000 for Bisard’s legal fees until recently.
They stopped paying the tab after the suspended Indianapolis Metro Police officer was arrested, while out on bond in this case, for operating while intoxicated.
The truncated hearing Monday, originally scheduled for two days, was to deal with several motions filed leading up to the October trial – including the admissibility of blood samples taken from Bisard, statements from former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and whether the jury should hear about a police-action shooting involving Bisard a few months before the crash.
Charged in early 2011, the case has been delayed many times over the admission of blood tests showing Bisard had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in December that the blood tests could be admitted into evidence. The case was moved to Allen County this year at the request of Bisard’s attorneys because of pretrial publicity.
While out on bond, Bisard was arrested again in late April, accused of crashing a friend’s truck into a guardrail. A blood test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent, and there was an open bottle of Dark Eyes vodka inside the truck, according to court documents. The state’s legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent.
After that arrest, Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck revoked Bisard’s bond and he will remain in jail until the trial.
A new hearing for August has been scheduled on the blood-test issues, though the prosecutors filed a motion Monday to dismiss the defense request. Prosecutors argued the matter has been extensively litigated and shouldn’t continue to be an issue.
Surbeck took the issues under advisement and will rule at a later date.