Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins ruled Tuesday that blood-alcohol evidence in the case of former Indianapolis police Officer David Bisard cannot be used to bring charges of drunken driving, but may be used to support a charge of criminal recklessness.
It was the first major court ruling in the case of Bisard, who was charged with seven felonies after an August 2010 crash in which one motorcyclist was killed and two more were injured.
"It's a tremendous ruling. We think it's in line with what the law is and what the facts have shown so far, that the blood draw does not meet the tests required under those DUI counts," said Bisard's attorney, John Kautzman.
Tuesday's ruling is just the start of what is likely to be a long legal road ahead, with an appeal likely that could last up to two years if it reaches the Indiana Supreme Court.
Bisard was on duty when he struck motorcyclists stopped at a red light on Aug. 6, 2010, killing Eric Wells and injuring Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills, police said.
A blood test administered about two hours after the crash showed that Bisard had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.19 percent.
Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi withdrew alcohol-related charges because he doubted the evidence would be admissible in court because standard procedures weren't followed in the way the evidence was procured.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry re-filed the charge shortly after taking office in January.
"The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has presented a sound legal argument as to why the blood test should be admitted. We will review today’s court ruling and make a prompt decision regarding a possible appeal," the office said in a statement. "We are committed to prosecuting this case to its conclusion."
Bisard was charged with operating while under the influence causing death, a Class B felony; operating while under the influence causing death, a Class C felony; reckless homicide, a Class C felony; and four counts of operating while under the influence causing serious injury, Class C felonies.
"It all ends up in the same place, regardless of the decision here today," said Wells' father, Aaron Wells. "That is, the courts get a chance to hear this case, they get to rule on it, and that's all we've ever asked for since the time our son was killed."
Bisard's attorneys also petitioned to move the case out of Marion County.
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