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Judge suspends Indianapolis officer's license after drunken-driving arrest

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 3:30 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — A suspended Indianapolis police officer awaiting trial on charges from a 2010 collision that killed a motorcyclist came to court in shackles Wednesday to face a judge following his weekend arrest on drunken driving counts.

David Bisard had been free on bond and kept his driver's license while numerous legal battles repeatedly delayed his trial on reckless homicide, drunken driving and other charges from the crash nearly three years ago while he was on duty and driving a squad car.

A Marion County judge entered a not guilty plea for Bisard and suspended his driver's license during an initial court hearing on his Saturday arrest that lasted only a few minutes Wednesday. He remains jailed at least until another judge overseeing the 2010 case holds a hearing May 9 on a request from prosecutors that his bond be revoked.

Bisard said nothing to reporters as he entered and left the courtroom in an orange jail uniform and handcuffs shackled around his waist. His defense attorney declined to talk about the weekend arrest.

Bisard, 39, faces two misdemeanor drunken driving charges over the Saturday afternoon crash in which a pickup truck he was driving ran into a guard rail along a winding, narrow road through a wooded area in the northeastern Indianapolis community of Lawrence.

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.

Mary Mills, who was badly injured in the August 2010 crash that killed 30-year-old Eric Wells, said it was satisfying to see Bisard in custody Wednesday and that she was grateful no one was hurt in Saturday's crash.

"It could've been someone jogging down the street or walking their dog," Mills said. "I'm glad it was a guardrail rather than somebody else."

Marion County Superior Court Judge Linda Brown ordered Bisard to face alcohol monitoring if he is allowed out of jail.

Whether that can happen will be decided by an Allen County judge who is handling the 2010 crash case, which has been moved to Fort Wayne because of extensive media coverage in central Indiana.

Judge Allen Surbeck ruled Tuesday that Bisard be held without bond until next week's bond hearing.

Defense attorney John Kautzman didn't take questions Wednesday about whether he would try to get Bisard out of jail.

"We agreed to him remaining in the Marion County Jail on a no-bond hold until the matter is heard up in Fort Wayne," Kautzman said.

Bisard has been suspended without pay from the Indianapolis Police Department since the 2010 daytime crash in which his cruiser slammed into two motorcycles stopped at an intersection. His trial is set to begin in October. If convicted, Bisard could face 20 or more years in prison.

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.

The case has undergone a series of legal delays over admission of blood tests that showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. The Indiana Supreme Court in ruled in December that the blood tests could be admitted into evidence.

Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson said she would argue next week that Bisard's new arrest shows that he poses a danger to the community and should either be jailed without bond or face a significant increase in the $10,000 bond he posted following his 2010 arrest.

Robinson said she didn't think Bisard's new arrest would further delay his trial.

"I believe we're prepared to go forward in October, and I think that's what Judge Surbeck expects," she said.

Mills, the injured motorcyclist, said she hoped that was the case.

"If he's sitting in jail, maybe it will speed things up," she said.