Archive for the ‘Billy Lane’ Category

William B. (Billy) Lane

William D. (Billy) Lane

According to the Florida Inmate Release Information web site, William D. (Billy) Lane was released today from the Orlando Transition Center and is re-opening his shop in Daytona Beach, Florida.

You might recall that Billy Lane (Choppers Inc.) was involved in a drunk-driving crash that killed Sebastian Inlet Park Ranger and fellow biker Gerald Morelock on A-1-A in Melbourne Beach on September 4, 2006. Billy repeatedly took responsibility, didn’t offer any excuses for the crash and told the court he wasn’t seeking pity.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and three years’ probation.  Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane’s driver license be suspended for life.

Good people make mistakes.  You can’t take the past back and he will have to live everyday with the thought that another person is no longer alive because of his actions.  There were no winners.  He paid a price, served his time and enough said.

My hope is that all goes well in his new shop and that he can be an inspiration to others in not only the creativity of his work.

Photo courtesy of Florida Corrections.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Billy Lane Handcuffed After Sentencing

Billy Lane Handcuffed After Sentencing

There are no winners here.

Celebrity motorcycle builder, Billy Lane was sentenced today to six years in prison and three year’s probation in connection with the Labor Day 2006 crash that left Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock dead.  Lane was immediately handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom.  Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane’s drivers license suspended for life and that he undergo random drug and alcohol testing upon his release from prison.

I blogged about this previously HERE.  I have little tolerance.  Not only did Billy kill a biker drunk driving in a free Dodge Truck etc.,… it wasn’t an isolated incident as he was driving on a suspended license pending another trial for drunk driving.

I don’t know Mr. Lane nor do I have a beef with him.  I do however have a beef with drunk driving.  The request of a non-incarcerating sentence and the judge’s discretion to ignore it were appropriate in my view.

UPDATE: September 18, 2014Billy Lane is released from the Orlando Transition Center today.

Photo courtesy of Rik Jesse, Florida Today.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Wayne Ransom - Ransom Motorsports LLC

Wayne Ransom - Ransom Motorsports LLC

Wayne Ransom of Ransom Motorsports is unique.  Not because of the fact that he designs custom motorcycles, fabricates and finishes them himself or that he makes his own frames, suspensions and every piece of the body work is aluminum — hand pounded and smoothed by his hands — he’s unique because he lives life in a way that sets the bar high for many of us.  Before anything else Wayne is a devout Christian and reflects it in the way he lives his life and conducts business.  A bible-based bike builder if you will!  That is not something we routinely hear or observe from the custom bike industry! There are lots of examples that seem in conflict with this life style and I’ve written about biker celeb wrecks previously HERE and HERE.

Even the name of Ransom’s motorcycles (Genesis, Cain, Abel, and Serpent) take on a faith based vernacular.  Clearly the custom motorcycle industry prides itself on originality and Wayne is helping set a positive tone in the industry that is a public asset, not a public burden.

My hats off to Wayne!  Especially in this day where a lack of financial integrity is standard operating procedure.  I for one would like to hear his insights and personal experience, rising up through the ranks of the industry and how his Christian faith assisted his leadership skills in running a business.  Fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity is both inspiring and thought provoking in the world of custom motorcycles.

Photo courtesy of Ransom Motorsport web site.  Photographer is Dino Petrocelli.

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Jeff Cockran

Jeff Cockran

You know Jesse James as a custom bike builder (WCC), publisher (Payupsucker Publications), television host (Monster Garage), Hollywood celebrity (wife Sandra Bullock), car builder, welder and restaurateur (Cisco Burger), but did you know he’s got some serious “behind-the-scenes” legal trouble?

Contrary to popular opinion I’m not a big Jesse fan even though he did visit the U.S. Troops in Iraq before Obama!  Clearly he has talent and has built some interesting bikes.  However, his chumminess with the Hollywood elite while casting himself off as an everyday bloke working for the blue collar common man as a “glorified welder” is an insightful commentary and somewhat disingenuous as the bad boy C.F.L. industry personality.  These days the whole biker experience (as “media darlings“) has become gimmicky and any day I expect to see a “Chopper Deal or No Deal” game show on TV.

Having had my share of legal issues in this litigation-base society I’m not judging Jesse because I think he’s done a lot for the industry, but it does look like a negative trend or downward spiral…he’s being sued for breach of contract by Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP — his former lawyer for more than $327K in unpaid fees.  And he’s being sued for breach of contract by Michael B. Jones for more than $422K in the failure to deliver a custom 1949 Cadillac. Last year Jesse was in another law suit with the Sheet Metal Workers Union over a trademark infringement when he co-opted their image on popular WCC calendars that were sold in Wal-Mart.  And capping off a year plus of legal fun he was fined $275K by CARB for selling motorcycles with engines not approved by the state.

Sucker Punch Sallys

Sucker Punch Sallys

All of this is adding up to some serious coin and has to be cutting into the Monster Garage residuals!  Most important is the question of “Where is the chopper industry going?” 

We witnessed the sponsorship implosion from Billy Lane’s accident.  Is Jesse on the same collision course?  We have OCC and the Teutels, but they’ve become wealthy growing into grander and more upscale shops while doing corporate built-off’s.  Not to get personal, but even Paul Sr. looks to be sitting around the lounger too much because either his bicep tat’s are starting to droop or Hi-Def TV is not kind to body builders?

What we need is another Indian Larry personality.  Another larger than life ambassador for the industry to make an entrance onto the TV scene and become an inspiration.  Is Jeff Cockran of Sucker Punch Sallys our next ambassador?  I think he’s one to watch…

What do you think?  Is it the slowdown of the economy, or the fad of TV choppers wearing thin, or did the greed of the custom builders over charging customers simply cause the market to crash?

UPDATE: November 12, 2008 – More legal issues with Mr. James and WCC who are being sued by Fortune Fashions over a clothing line which was to be sold thru Wal-Mart.   Jesse pulled the deal, hired a key employee and then decided to sell direct to Wal-Mart anyway.  Legal docs HERE.

Photo’s courtesy of SMWIA and SPS web sites.

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billy lane with dreggsThey both whiff air and share ability to hire good lawyers! Billy Lane of Chopper Inc. rides. He’s a man’s man — a biker, a bike builder and trying to make a “honest mans” living. Britney just gets ridden – mostly into the gutter it seems. Billy states he’s not a celebrity. But, in his book it’s all about him being the fastest-rising star among high-profile custom chopper builders.

Britney on the other hand, with that “You’ll never see it my way, because you are not me”, a’tude is with out question a celeb. The Barister is nothing but a popwreck. Personally I wish she’d leave the U.S. with her lil’ doggie, London. K-fed has the kids now and with TMZ we get a blow-by-blow account of her daily action. The latest is driving with out a valid CA license and hit and run.
billy book
Wait! That’s curious… Barister and Billy both “Celebwrecks” get into auto incidents and life collides. Billy surrendered to Florida authorities last year after tests showed his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit during a collision that killed a moped rider. He 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 Billy’s blood-alcohol level was 0.192 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Come on…he’s a biker dude. So what — he was drunk, driving a heavy sponsored Dodge pickup truck and killed someone riding a scooter. OMG, you must get a criminal record to be a celeb, right?…that’s his strategy! Clearly his roadmap to stardom?! What’s next? Courtney Love (from the wacky and weird side of the planet) coming to Billy’s defense with that before you judge walka mile in his shoes…

Wait! There’s more…
billy lane cleanAt the time of Billy’s accident he was driving on a suspended license resulting from a prior accident in North Carolina, in which he had refused to take a blood-alcohol test. Bottom line Billy killed Gerald Vernon Morelock, a 56-year-old park ranger from Melbourne Beach, Fla., who was riding a Yamaha moped. The accident happened after Billy crossed a double yellow line on Highway A1A to pass at least two other vehicles before hitting the moped head-on.(R: Photo along with excellent coverage at Cyril Huze Blog)

Two of the charges – DUI-manslaughter and driving with a suspended license in conjunction with a death – are second-degree felonies and looking at up to 15 years in prison for each of those charges. Billy was booked into Brevard County Jail then released on a $15,000 bond. He issued a statement through his PR agency – now we’re talking Billy – all celebs have PR agents!

Then it gets creepy. The family of Morelock, Billy and attorneys for DaimlerChrysler, negotiated an out of court settlement. He was driving a promotional Dodge pickup when he killed Gerald Morelock. I’m sure that cost millions to settle, but a settlement was reached none the less for an undisclosed amount.

Billy’s criminal charges for DUI Manslaughter are still pending. His attorneys, “celeb’ed” him up — cut his hair and reports magically surfaced that he has stopped drinking as a result of the accident, duh?! The case has been postpone while they continue to investigate the charges.

As of this week (October 2007) wftv.com news is reporting that the celebrity motorcycle builder Billy Lane lawyer team has asked a judge to throw out blood alcohol results in his DUI manslaughter case.

Stand by to see what all that celeb money can do…

UPDATE: June 17, 2009 – Three years later and a lot of legal bills…last week Billy Lane pleaded guilty to a single charge of vehicular homicide.  As part of the plea agreement prosecutors dropped the DUI manslaughter charge.  Mr. Lane faces a maximum of 9 years in prison (sentencing is August 14).  The deal also mandates a lifetime license suspension, but he might be able to retain use of it for specific purposes.  The Defense attorney, Greg Eisenmenger will request a non-incarcerating sentence, but this is at the judge’s discretion.

UPDATE: August 14, 2009 — Billy Lane was sentenced today to six years in prison and three year’s probation in connection with the Labor Day 2006 crash that left Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock dead.  Lane was immediately handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom.  Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane’s drivers license suspended for life and that he undergo random drug and alcohol testing upon his release from prison.

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