FORT WAYNE, Ind.– Jurors in the David Bisard trial will return to the Allen County Courthouse to hear one more morning of testimony before heading home to prepare for deliberations Monday in the case against the suspended IMPD officer.
Prosecutors will call a rebuttal witness, the last person to take the stand in the three-week old trial.
Attorneys for both sides will huddle with Judge John Surbeck to hammer out instructions for jurors when they retire to the jury room late Monday morning to decide if Bisard is guilty of drunk or reckless driving in a 2010 on-duty crash that killed motorcyclist Eric Wells.
Bisard’s attorneys wrapped up their case Thursday afternoon with the presentation of a minute-long compilation of Indianapolis TV news video of the crash scene.
There was no audio accompaniment of the video which gave jurors their first authentic look of the accident scene that they’ve heard about since the first day of jury selection.
The video familiar to Indianapolis television viewers showed the wrecked vehicles and police officers at the scene and Bisard removing a black bag from his patrol car.
Earlier a clinical pharmacologist told jurors that the accused IMPD officer’s blood alcohol level would have been at a life threatening rate if he started drinking the night before the crash as the prosecution claims.
Dr. Fran Genco testified that he reviewed case reports, videos, audio tapes, summaries, charging information, clinic reports and blood draw and laboratory results information related to the accident that killed motorcyclist Eric Wells.
Under cross examination Jengo told jurors that the decisions Bisard made behind the wheel that day would be common not only in a drunk driver but any driver involved in an accident.
The Metro police officer faces nine counts, including causing death while under the influence of alcohol, because of the on-duty crash that occurred on Indianapolis’ northeast side.
Bisard’s blood alcohol level tested at more than twice the legal limit to drive two and a half hours after the accident.
Addressing the jury directly, Dr. Genco testified that nothing in his review of witness statements and visual and audio records of that day prove to him that Bisard was drunk.
“The thing that I found interesting that there was uniform opinion that they found nothing that would indicate intoxication,” said Genco.
The doctor said Bisard exercised what he called, “the highest executive functions of the brain,” including an awareness of his situation and a demonstrated ability to make choices.
Bisard’s blood alcohol test registered .19 percent.
Genco said Bisard’s level of alleged intoxication would have been even higher when the crash occurred and his impairment would have been more pronounced at a time when no witnesses reported he appeared intoxicated.
The doctor estimated that Bisard’s intoxication level would have to have been as much as three times the state’s legal limit to drive at the time of the crash or at a toxic life threatening level if he had been drinking heavily the night before.
Genco said that Bisard would have had to ingest up to 15 drinks, in various combinations of the previous night and the next morning, to reach the intoxication level alleged by the prosecution.
Upon cross examination, Dr. Genco agreed that the driving skills exhibited by Bisard as he approached the accident scene, speeding, lack of safe braking, decreased reaction time, lack of perception of the street environment, risky driving and violation of IMPD driving protocols, could all be signs of intoxication.
As lead prosecutor Denise Robinson ticked off various signs of intoxication, Jengo responded, “Counselor, you’re picking and choosing the ones that support your argument and ignoring the ones that don’t.
“Most of the things that you describe happen in most accidents that do not involve alcohol.”
During further questioning from Bisard attorney John Kautzman, Genco said the officer would not have been able to function at a high level to call for help and the blockage of approach streets if he had truly tested at .19 BAC or above.
Fox 59 viewers have heard exclusively the same police tapes jurors listened to in the courtroom depicting Bisard’s verbal reaction minutes after the crash.
Before Dr. Genco took the stand a hospital pharmacist and defense witness testified that while he can’t prove mishandling changed the findings of David Bisard’s blood tests, the conditions were present for a possible altered result.
Dr. Robert Belloto said that examinations run on both samples of Bisard’s blood, which found similar BAC results, were based on faulty collection and storage and incomplete testing protocols.
“I wouldn’t expect anything different,” testified Belloto, referring to the alleged faulty lab results that the prosecution says prove Bisard was drunk. “What you’re really measuring is illusionary, nothing else.”
A list of Bisard’s medications and supplements, including a protein supplement, an anti-depressant, medication for acid reflux and an antihistamine, were read into the record.
Belloto said he could find no evidence that the analysis of Bisard’s blood took into account the impact such compounds could have on the test results.
“Those medicine’s impacts were not taken into consideration,” said Belloto. “Its something you should rule out.”
Upon cross examination, Deputy Prosecutor Robinson pointed out that some of Belloto’s scientific conclusions ran in opposition to another defense witness who testified the day before.
When asked if he was aware of anything that was “wrong” with the tests on both Bisard blood vials, Belloto answered, “No one does.”
The case was moved to Allen County due to extensive pre-trial publicity in Indianapolis which included controversial comments about police conduct from Mayor Greg Ballard on down and news about Bisard’s second DUI arrest in Lawrence this past April.
The seven woman/five man panel has no extensive knowledge of those issues and is unaware that Bisard is currently jailed, because of the second arrest which has not been adjudicated, and that each morning he arrives at the Fort Wayne courthouse in shackles only to emerge in the courtroom an hour later in a business suit and tie.
If convicted of the most serious charge, Bisard faces a potential 20 years in prison.