VIERA, FLORIDA -- Celebrity motorcycle builder Billy Lane is set to go to trial in December, more than two years after a fatal head-on crash that left one man dead.
Lane, 38, is charged with one count of DUI manslaughter in connection with the fatal Labor Day 2006 traffic accident.
Police said Lane's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he crossed a double yellow line to pass several cars near Melbourne Beach, striking Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock's motorcycle head-on.
During a pretrial conference hearing today in Viera, Brevard Circuit Judge Meryl Allawas designated the trial as a “priority” for her next trial period -- which lasts Dec. 1 through 12 -- with the understanding that it may have to be canceled if defense attorney Greg Eisenmenger cannot move existing schedule conflicts.
A final determination will be made during a calendar call hearing set for Nov. 21.
Allawas had expected to hear three hours of testimony today on several defense motions seeking to bar trial testimony about blood evidence.
However, Eisenmenger - who had Lane’s blood samples re-tested earlier this year at an out-of-state lab on the theory that mishandling by police possibly led to contamination and a skewed blood-alcohol reading - canceled the motion hearing late last week.
“We decided it was probably better tactics for us to raise those issues before the jury during trial, so as to not tip our hand,” Eisenmenger told Florida Today in an interview.
Eisenmenger and Assistant State Attorney Tom Brown said they expect the trial to last up to two weeks, and that they anticipate pre-trial publicity could result in a lengthy jury selection process.