CHILTON – A Fond du Lac County judge handed down a sentence Thursday in what he calls the toughest case he’s been a part of.
It involves a motorcycle crash that happened a year and a half ago.
Two motorcyclists from Michigan were killed.
And the man who caused it, Clinton Lovelace is going to prison for eight years.
“I can’t begin to explain how horrible I feel that this has happened and I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the court, the people, the families and everyone who died and was injured,” said Clinton Lovelace.
He said few words to the families and victims of the May 2012 crash that killed two of 12 members of the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang. And for survivors like Lee Johnson, the apology was too little too late.
“I saw Dan take his last breath, it would have been me if he had gone to the right and I had gone to the left, it would have been me taking my last breath…I hope Mr. Lovelace goes away for a long time.”
District Attorney Eric Toney described the impact the crash had then and still has today.
“Two people are dead, eight were significantly injured, dozens if not hundreds of people were significantly affected by this crime.”
Judge Gary Sharpe also struggled to put the magnitude of the crash into words.
“The effect of this case, the carnage is staggering, beyond one’s ability to grasp or understand.”
But he said the state’s request for 20 years in prison was too much when they couldn’t prove Lovelace’s driving ability was impaired by the Oxycodone in his system. Instead he sentenced Lovelace to eight years in prison.
“I’d be happier if it was 20 years, but am I severely disappointed no, I’m not, eight years for a 27-year-old kid, that is a substantial time,” said crash survivor Brad Groom.
Lovelace’s cousin Ellen Mommaerts expressed relief over a sentence where neither side is completely satisfied.
“It’s hard to take in everything that has happened in the last year and a half. And I think the judge was certainly as reasonable as he could be given the gravity of the situation.”
Groom says the families are looking forward to putting behind them the legal portion of a day they will never forget.
“I’m very relieved that this process is finally coming to an end, it’s been dragging on for a very long time.”
Lovelace will also spend 15 years on extended supervision following his release from prison.