FORT WAYNE, Ind. – A former Indianapolis police officer who killed a man and seriously injured two others when he was driving drunk and crashed his police cruiser into two motorcycles stopped at a traffic light was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison.
David Bisard was convicted last month on nine counts, the most serious of which was driving with a blood-alcohol content above 0.15 percent while in a fatal accident. The legal limit in Indiana is 0.08.
He resigned Monday from the police department. He had been suspended without pay since the 2010 crash that killed 30-year-old Eric Wells.
Allen County Superior Judge John Surbeck sentenced Bisard to a total of 16 years in prison but suspended the last three years. Prosecutors had requested a 22-year prison sentence with two years suspended, while Bisard's attorneys asked for 11 to 12 years, with several years suspended.
The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/IfuDwV ) that Bisard told the court that he is "remorseful beyond words" and accepts responsibility for the crash. But he said he would not accept responsibility for being intoxicated.
Bisard did admit he was drunk when he crashed his pickup truck in April 2013 in a separate incident. He said that DUI arrest caused him to lose the trust of his family and friends and made it difficult for people to believe he wasn't drunk at the time of the fatal crash on Aug. 6, 2010.
"I am not the awful man I've been made out to be," he said while reading a statement during the sentencing hearing.
Bisard's attorneys had argued during his trial that his blood test was faulty.
Surbeck criticized Bisard Tuesday for his "blatant denials" about being drunk, the newspaper reported.
Wells' wife, Luisa Montilla, told Surbeck that she and her husband moved to Indiana to build a family and that he planned to go to graduate school.
"I don't have my best friend. I don't have my husband," she said. "I couldn't build my life again. It will never be the same."
Wells' mother asked the judge to give Bisard the maximum sentence.
"My son's freedom was ripped away by David Bisard's actions that day," Mary Wells said. "There is no sentence long enough or punishment severe enough that could possibly compensate for my daily torment."
Bisard's wife, Lora, cried while testifying about how the crash and criminal case affected the couple's two young daughters, saying the family prayed daily for the crash victims and their families. She asked for treatment for her husband rather than long-term prison term.
Mary Mills Weekly survived the crash but said it changed her life forever. She said she had to learn to walk again. She said she is in constant pain and said the medicine she takes diminishes her quality of life.
The case was moved to Fort Wayne in northeastern Indiana because of extensive pretrial publicity in Indianapolis.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com