One of the most common questions we receive here at the Motorcycle Monster is what’s going on with custom bike builder Billy Lane ? Since his terrible DUI accident in Sept. 2006 Billy’s life of fame and fortune has been turned inside out as he has gone from celebrity TV bike builder to inmate at the Avon Park correction facility in Avon Park, Florida.
Lanes nightmare began with a terrible head on collision while driving when drunk on Sept. 5, 2006. While driving a Dodge Ram promotional vehicle on Florida Route A1A, Lane crossed a double line to pass two cars. While passing those two cars, Lane struck “head on” a 1983 Yamaha Scooter driven by Park Ranger Gerald Morelock. Morelock received extensive injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
After two years of legal motions and posturing, Lane finally faced the court on August 14, 2009 and was convicted (pleading no contest) on one count of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 6 years in prison, 3 years of supervised probation, and loss for life, his drivers license.
Since that time Lane has been spending his time in a Florida work camp at Avon Park. According to state spokespersons, Lane is using his skills to repair “motor pool” cars and train other inmates. Reports say, Lane is a model prisoner and doing his time using his skills.
Lanes civil legal problems piled up as law suits from both Erin Derrick, Lanes passenger at the time of the accident and the family of Gerald Morelock arrived, in the months following the arrest. Both of those suits have been settled that named both Lane and Chrysler LLC. Today everyone's mum on the final settlements. Rumors say Millions were paid. We'll probably never know.
The sad part of this whole story is this death should have been avoided. You see, most of the folks who are regulars on the biker scene and frequent the national events where guys like Billy hang out knew about Billy’s problem and his regular driving while under the influence. I’m not proud to say it, but I have seen Billy Lane so drunk, he could barely walk, climb on his chopper and speed away. I’ve seen him drunk on the floor at Sloppy Joes in Key West.
We do not have the authority to judge William David Lane. The question for me is, could we have stopped him. Could we have stopped Billy from riding his bike drunk? Could his friends have stopped him on that terrible day from getting into that Dodge? Did friends in the biker community also know he had pending charges in the Carolinas when the Florida accident occurred. Is it possible that Chrysler didn’t know about his DUI charges? Could Chrysler have taken his truck away? Could his biker friends have stopped him?
When ever bikers convene, many are on both sides of the argument about if Billy received justice with his 6 year sentence. Many will point out that Mr Morelock's blood alcohol was “above the legal limit” when the accident occurred. Others want to rant about how we bikers should support Billy (one of us) no matter what. I personally support Billy’s recovery and I hope his time away will give him time to consider the consequences of his actions.
One thing is for sure, none of the pain and sorrow was worth it for a drink of liquor. Billy Lane will get a second chance, he’ll get out, and probably continue his celebrity status, he’ll hopefully have another positive chapter and recover from this nightmare.
He’s a bright guy with years ahead of him and many opportunities for a successful productive life.
Mr Morelock and his family will not get a second chance.
Death is final.
Please, Don’t let your friends drink and drive.
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