​Police: Officer smelled of alcohol after fatal crash

Indianapolis authorities say an off-duty officer fatally struck a pedestrian with his cruiser Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.


INDIANAPOLIS - The breath of an off-duty police officer who fatally struck a pedestrian with his cruiser smelled of alcohol, Indianapolis police said early Friday.

Police spokesman Lt. Richard Riddle said the incident happened just before midnight Thursday. The officer stopped after striking the man and got out to help, performing chest compressions, Riddle said. The victim was declared dead at the scene.

The officer also notified authorities that he had struck a pedestrian, the department said in a statement.

Officers were already heading to the scene, and arrived within minutes of the accident, because they had received reports of a man -- believed to be the victim -- walking in the middle of the street, Riddle said.

A police supervisor at the scene smelled the odor of alcohol on the officer's breath, he said.

The off-duty officer, a seven-year veteran who wasn't immediately identified, was taken to a hospital for blood testing. Results may not be available until Friday afternoon, Riddle said. The identity of the victim has not been released.

Riddle said he didn't know where the officer had been before the crash. Police were waiting on a search warrant before searching the vehicle, he said.

The city police department was roiled two years ago when another Indianapolis police officer was convicted of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed one person and injured two others.

Former Officer David Bisard is serving a 16-year prison sentence in that case.

"Obviously there were questions after Bisard, and we are doing everything by policy in this incident to show that no officer is above the law," Riddle said.

The off-duty officer was "treated like any other individual" who might be involved in such a crash, he said.

A representative for the Marion County prosecutor's office was on the scene, Riddle said. Indianapolis police Chief Richard Hite was briefed on the situation but had no immediate statement.

The officer would face administrative discipline even if tests showed the presence of alcohol below the legal limit, because Indianapolis officers are not allowed to have any alcohol in their bloodstream while operating a police car, Riddle said.