A Brevard Circuit judge today sentenced celebrity motorcycle builder Billy Lane to six years in prison and three years probation in connection with the Sept. 4, 2006, crash that left Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock dead.
VIERA -- A Brevard Circuit judge today sentenced celebrity motorcycle builder Billy Lane to six years in prison and three years probation in connection with the Sept. 4, 2006, crash that left Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock dead.
Lane was immediately handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom. Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane's drivers license suspended for life and that he undergo random drug and alcohol testing upon his release from prison. Lane, 39, faced up to nine years in prison after a judge in June OK’d a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of DUI manslaughter in connection with the Labor Day 2006 crash. Lane, choking back tears, spoke on his own behalf starting at about 10:30 a.m. He said he takes full responsibility for Morelock's death. "I was very careless. I was a less-responsible citizen," Lane said. "I'm not looking for pity on myself. I drive by the spot where I killed Jerry Morelock every day. I pray to God for his soul and for his family."
"Whatever you decide today judge . . . I hope you'll look at Mr. Morelock and myself and make a fair decision." Police said Lane’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he crossed a double-yellow line to speed at 68 mph past three cars on State Road A1A south of Melbourne Beach. He crashed his Dodge pickup head on into 56-year-old Morelock’s small Yamaha motorcycle. Lane's attorney, Greg Eisenmenger, argued for a non-prison sentence, saying making restitution to Morelock's family outweighed the need for jail time. Morelock’s brother and nephew told the judge Gerald Morelock loved kids and would have wanted a positive resolution. They asked Burger to impose a sentence that would require Lane to use his celebrity to help save the lives of young people. But the judge sided with prosecutor Tom Brown who said a non-prison would have sent the wrong message that fame and money buys freedom. In arguing for the maximum sentence, Brown pointed out a number of speeding violations and a pattern of bad driving habits on Lane’s driving record. Though there were no DUIs on Lane’s record, Brown said his record of speeding showed the 2006 crash was not a one-time event, but showed a pattern that could have and would have and did have deadly consequences.