Bisard Trial Begins With Opening Statements, Juror's Removal
David Bisard (WIBC.com file photo: Mike Corbin)
The trial of Indy Metro Police officer David Bisard is underway, three years after the crash which killed a motorcyclist and injured two others.
In opening statements, prosecutors declared Bisard was not only drunk but driving recklessly, reaching speeds of more than 70 miles an hour before slamming on the brakes.
Deputy Marion County Prosecutor Denise Robinson acknowledges several witnesses maintain Bisard didn't appear drunk, but says some will testify otherwise. She reminded the jury of Otis, the town drunk on "The Andy Griffith Show," and cautioned jurors not every drunk looks like that. She says blood samples will show Bisard was over the legal limit.
The reliability of those samples has been at the center of a three-year pretrial battle. Defense attorney John Kautzman says the handling of those samples makes them unreliable. And he contends the recklessness charges wouldn't even have been filed if not for the drunken-driving claim.
Bisard faces a total of nine counts in the crash which killed Eric Wells, including a reckless homicide charge carrying up to eight years in prison.
The case is being tried in Fort Wayne because of heavy publicity in Indianapolis. The trial hit a speed bump even before opening statements, when a juror was dismissed after reporting to the court that he'd overheard allegations about Bisard's drinking that won't be admissible in court.
The juror told Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck his supervisor at work told a staff meeting he'd be off duty for a month to be in court, and one coworker figured out he was on the Bisard jury. That coworker had family connections to Bisard, and the juror says he heard an ensuing conversation with details about the case.
The juror's removal leaves just two alternates. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says he's not concerned about running out.