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Officer charged again in fatal accident

Associated Press / January 17, 2011

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INDIANAPOLIS — The handling of an accident in which a police cruiser struck and killed a motorcyclist rocked Indianapolis and led to emotional allegations of a coverup. The case has been revived now that a new prosecutor has refiled drunken driving charges against the police officer driving the cruiser.

The question for families and victims is whether the charges filed last week will stick despite what police admit was a bungled investigation. If they do, Officer David Bisard could face 20 years or more in prison.

Bisard was on his way to help serve a warrant last Aug. 6 when his police cruiser smashed into two motorcycles, leaving one rider dead and two others seriously injured.

A few days later, a blood test revealed a possible reason for the wreck: Bisard’s blood-alcohol level was still more than twice the legal limit hours after the crash. The local prosecutor filed charges, only to drop them a few weeks later, saying the blood test hadn’t been properly done and couldn’t be used in court.

Officers and emergency medical personnel at the scene said they had no reason to suspect Bisard had been drinking that morning, and no breath test had been done.

Bisard’s attorney, John Kautzman, said his client maintains his innocence, and a judge entered a not guilty plea for him Friday.

Allegations of a coverup started shortly after the crash when prosecutors announced the blood test showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 more than two hours after his squad car plowed into the motorcycles, killing 30-year-old Eric Wells and injuring two others. Many were incredulous that neither police at the scene nor the medical personnel who drew the blood and evaluated Bisard for injuries realized he was drunk.

“I think if it would have been anyone else that would have hit this man on his motorcycle it would have been handled totally different,’’ said Ann Miller, 40, who lives in nearby Lapel and has posted messages on a Facebook page set up to seek punishment for Bisard.

“I think they would still be in jail and waiting on trial and they probably would be heading to prison. And it shouldn’t happen this way,’’ Miller said.

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