ALLEN COUNTY – After Judge John Surbeck denied a defense objection to the proposed testimony of a crash victim’s widow, witnesses took the stand in the David Bisard trial to tell jurors what they saw when they arrived at the crash scene August 6, 2010.
Bisard faces nine counts, including reckless homicide and drunk driving causing death, for the accident that took the life of Eric Wells and injured two others.
IEMS Paramedic Barbara Miller took the stand to explain that she was called to the scene to treat an injured IMPD officer. That officer was David Bisard as Miller pointed him out in the courtroom as he sat at the far end of the defense table in a gray suit and red floral necktie.
“I could see that he had some blood on his forearms,” Miller said. “I asked him if he was alright, where he was hurt? His response was, ‘I’m okay.'”
Miller said when she arrived on East 56th Street at Brendon Way South Drive, “I didn’t know what we had, there was just an awful lot of stuff going on. There was a fella sitting on the northside of the road and he was just sitting in the grass and crying.”
That man was likely motorcyclist George Burt, who had just seen Wells, Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills struck by Bisard’s car.
Another witness testified of Burt, “He was very angry, very upset, very devastated. ‘We did what they were supposed to do,'” the witness quoted Burt as he indicated that the motorcyclists tried to avoid the oncoming patrol car. The witness said Burt reported hearing the sirens of Bisard’s vehicle.
Miller told jurors Bisard “didn’t want me at all. I never got into the car. I stood next to the door and talked to him there.”
The retired paramedic said Bisard wore sunglasses the entire she was with him and she never saw his eyes. She said Bisard did not complain of any pain as she cleaned what she assumed were glass cuts on his arm.
“I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital and he said, ‘No,'” she recalled.
Upon cross examination, Miller said that she saw no signs of impairment or unusual behavior at the accident scene as attorney John Kautzman approached the witness stand at arm’s length to demonstrate how close the paramedic was to his defendant.
Blood samples taken from Bisard nearly three hours after the crash resulted in a blood alcohol test level of 0.18 to 0.19, more than two times the state’s legal limit to drive.
“He seemed quite lucid, he answered everything correctly, there was no disorientation,” said Miller.
Miller also said signs of alcohol consumption are not always present, but “it’s not very often that you can’t smell it.”
With regard to operation of an emergency response vehicle, Miller told Kautzman that the brakes on her ambulance always worked.
“He did tell me that he tried to stop,” said Miller in response to a question from the jury.
Paramedic April Sohm testified that when she approached Bisard he said “he wasn’t injured but, ‘No, I’m not okay.'”
Sohm spotted motorcyclist George Burt who was uninjured but “appeared to be distraught, upset.”
The paramedic testified she did not detect any signs of alcohol at the crash scene, though she recalled that there were times she treated a patient who was intoxicated but did not think so at the time.
Medical specialists then described the various injuries Mary Mills suffered in the crash.
She was hospitalized for 12 days.
Dr. Timothy Pohl told jurors that Kurt Weekly suffered bleeding on the brain, skull fractures, severe head trauma, broken ribs, pulmonary contusions and broken leg bones. He was hospitalized for 24 days.
Mills and Weekly, who have since married, suffer lingering complications from their injuries that will be apparent to jurors as they testify. Weekly was awarded $1.35 million by the city of Indianapolis for his injuries. Mills received $975,000 as the result of a similar lawsuit. The city settled with the estate of Eric Wells for $1.55 million.
Then Weekly entered the courtroom.
“Actually my memory is not very well but people have told me I worked for the Department of Defense,” Weekly said in a halting voice.
“I think I am about 50% as strong as I was the day I was hit.”
He said fellow employees help him at his job processing payroll for the military at the Defense Finance and Accounting Services at Fort Benjamin Harrison, not far from the crash scene. Weekly identified Mary Mills as his wife.
“I have been married to Mary almost my whole life and she is the best I have done.”
Weekly then described Eric Wells as “a smart and wonderful person…he was a friend of mine. It’s amazing he has been gone since it happened.”
Weekly said he knew George Burt, another motorcyclist that day, saying “I’m glad he didn’t get killed.”
Weekly said he didn’t remember the day Bisard’s patrol car plowed into the motorcyclists who were on their way to lunch.
“I was asleep for three months. I don’t remember any of that. The good thing is I got awake. The doctor thought I was gonna die.”
When Weekly was excused and not questioned by the defense he answered, “Really?”
Mary Mills then took the stand to describe how she traveled the world training staff for DFAS before the crash.
“I don’t remember anything from that day,” she testified.
Mills told the jury that since the accident, Weekly walks with a limp and has lost weight.
“His eyes are different,” she said.
Weekly has a masters degree. said Mills, but since the accident he has trouble articulating his thoughts and “we had to teach him all again how to brush his teeth.”
Mills said Weekly’s job assignments have changed to accommodate his diminished abilities. She compared them to the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.
When showed a photograph of a motorcycle, Mills identified it as “Luvy,” Weekly’s pet name for his bike. She said Eric Wells bought his motorcycle in July of 2010, two weeks before the crash. Mills told jurors that it hurt to simply sit in the witness chair.
“I have a plate in my neck and I didn’t realize that,” she testified. “I’m not the nice person I used to be… anger is there.”
The defense did not cross-exam Mills.