Billy Lane Charged With DUI - Manslaughter

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Custom bike builder Billy Lane surrendered to Florida authorities Sept. 25 after tests showed his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit during a collision that killed a moped rider.

Lane was charged with driving under the influence-manslaughter, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injuries. Toxicology tests showed that Lane’s blood-alcohol level was 0.192 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to authorities.

The charges result from a Sept. 4 highway accident in which Lane’s pickup truck allegedly struck and killed Gerald Vernon Morelock, a 56-year-old park ranger from Melbourne Beach, Fla., who was riding a Yamaha moped. Investigators said the accident happened after Lane crossed a double yellow line to pass at least two other vehicles before striking the moped head-on.

Lane at the time of the accident was driving on a suspended license resulting from a June accident in North Carolina, in which he had refused to take a blood-alcohol test (BAT) and was awaiting a court hearing on Oct. 4. Lane initially refused to take a BAT after the Sept. 4 incident, authorities said, but then complied when officers told him that blood work could be forcibly taken from him because this latest crash resulted in a death.

Two of the charges – DUI-manslaughter and driving with a suspended license in conjunction with a death – are second-degree felonies. If convicted, Lane could face up to 15 years in prison for each of those charges.

Lane on Monday was booked into Brevard County Jail but was released soon after he posted $15,000 bond. He issued a statement through his PR agency later that day, saying “We extend our sincere sympathy to Mr. Morelock’s family” and that he “will cooperate fully in the pending investigation as he recovers.” Lane and a passenger in his truck were injured in the accident.

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