Clinton Lovelace, above, a driver who swerved into a pack of twelve motorcyclists on State Road 151 near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on May 31, 2012, reached a plea agreement yesterday that will send him to prison. Lovelace pled guilty to two counts of homicide by negligent use of a motor vehicle and three counts of reckless injury.
Lovelace had faced up to 90 years. He will probably be sentenced to 20 years by Fond du Lac County Judge Gary Sharpe on February 6.
Lovelace’s victims were members of a Muskegon, Michigan riding club called the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang. Twelve members of the club had taken an express ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee and were riding north to the Mackinac Bridge and a return trip home through most of Michigan. The loop was an annual club event called The Bridge Run.
The dozen riders were about 70 miles into the ride when Lovelace, travelling in the opposite direction, suddenly swerved into the pack. A police report said “the vehicle’s crossing wasn’t a slow gradual movement, it was almost like it jerked over the centerline striking the motorcycles.”
The first bike struck was ridden by Eric “Ric” VanDam. Lovelace hit VanDam in the left saddlebag. VanDam spent two weeks in a coma, more than three months in a hospital and lost a leg. He is now confined to a wheelchair.
Dan Winsemius, one of the riders directly behind VanDam was pronounced dead at the scene. Douglas Yonkers, the man riding next to Winsemius, died a week later.
Lovelace struck ten bikes and all ten of those riders either died or were seriously injured.
Lovelace told police he took Adderall and Xanax daily. He also had a prescription for oxycodone and traces of Oxy and marijuana were found in his system.
Lovelace was injured in the crash and briefly hospitalized. After he was admitted, nurses found two unused syringes and multiple doses of what appeared to be blotter acid in his clothes.
Lovelace told investigators he couldn’t remember the crash or anything that had occurred since that morning. He said he couldn’t remember taking Adderall or Xanax. The level of oxycodone in his blood was within legal limits in Wisconsin.
He was 25 at the time of the accident. An examination of his car found no mechanical problems that might have contributed to the crash.