The ongoing saga of Billy Lane, one of the most talented motorcycle builders of our generation has reached a new stage as he was sentenced to 6 years in the slammer with a 3 year probation to follow and a lifetime loss of license today.
I try not to delve too much into other peoples misfortunes but the facts are quite clear. 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 due to a Sept. 4, 2006, crash that left fellow biker Gerald Morelock dead.
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.
Today Billy’s lawyer plead his case focusing on the positive aspects of Billy’s life and the public service he has done with children, the military, and local organizations. He emphasized the good that Billy can do and has done and his ability to reach out to the younger generation.
Billy spoke to the judge taking responsibility for his actions and got quite emotional regarding the killing of Gerry Morelock. He was surrounded by other bike builders and notable members of the motorcycle business. The support for him from his peers as-well-as the members of Mr. Morelock’s family with whom he has built up a relationship was truly touching. However, in the end the fact remained that one man lost his life because of the lapse of judgment of another man.
I understand that other people have been in similar situations. A few months ago I lost a relative who was riding his motorcycle because someone ran him over. These tragedies hit our community all too often. Please keep this in mind next time you are in your cage and are driving distracted (read: drunk, on the cell, yelling at your kids, texting) and try to be more aware of cagers, or other potential hazards when you are on your bike.
I don’t want to hear about you being in jail or winding up dead, you are all to important to me.