Celebrity bike builder Billy Lane pleaded guilty to felony vehicular homicide last week.
Lane remains free. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 14th when he will be sentenced. He will probably avoid prison. The plea deal to which he has agreed mandates a lifetime suspension of his driver’s license. But Lane’s lawyer, Greg Eisenmenger said Lane can still petition the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for a hardship license.
Lane had faced up to 15 years in prison. According to published reports, his plea deal mitigates his maximum possible sentence to nine years. Lane may also be sentenced to house arrest or probation.
Eisenmenger said he thinks Lane deserves to remain free. The lawyer cited Lane’s clean criminal record and his charitable nature.
Lane, 39, owns a custom motorcycle shop and store called “Choppers, Inc.” in Melbourne, Florida. Casual observers of the American bike scene know Lane as a character in two Discovery Channel reality shows, Biker Build-Off and Monster Garage. Lane is the author of two books, Chop Fiction and How To Build Old School Choppers, Bobbers and Customs. And, he is also involved in the production of another, as yet unsyndicated, television show called The Next Great American Builder.
Lane’s plea almost concludes a legal drama that began in the summer of 2006.
Lane was arrested for driving drunk in North Carolina in June that year. Police claimed Lane was riding his motorcycle the wrong way on a two-lane road and was not wearing a helmet. Lane was charged with DUI after he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He was eventually acquitted of that charge.
The charge Lane is trying to resolve now began with a serious accident on Labor Day of 2006 in Melbourne, Florida. Lane drove his custom pickup truck across the double yellow line on coast highway AIA and crashed head-on into a Yamaha moped. The Moped rider, Gerald Morelock, was pronounced dead on the spot. Both Morelock and Lane were alleged to be legally drunk.
Lane’s criminal trial and several lawsuits have been dragging along ever since.
“Billy has been very remorseful from the start,” Eisenmenger said on the courthouse steps. “He understands how devastated the (Morelock) family is feeling. It is devastating to him as well, but he understands it’s nothing, compared to what the family’s feeling.”