Eric VanDam sat in a wheelchair in a Fond du Lac County courtroom Tuesday, one of many victims of a horrific crash in the Town of Taycheedah in May of 2012 that killed two people and injured seven others. VanDam lost a leg in the crash, caused when 26-year-old Clinton Lovelace of Hilbert ran his car in to a group of a dozen motorcycle riders on Highway 151.
Lovelace pled no contest Tuesday to two counts of Homicide by Negligent use of a Vehicle. He also entered Alford pleas to three counts of Second Degree Reckless Injury. Prosecutors says Hilbert was high on Oxycodone when he ran his car into the group of ten motorcycles in May of 2012.
District Attorney Eric Toney says the plea agreement calls for up to 32-and-a-half years in prison and an additional 20 to 25 years of extended supervision. He says it will spare the victims and their families the pain of reliving the tragic event during a trial.
AUDIO: DA Eric Toney (:11)
Tim Tomann of ABATE of Wisconsin, a motorcycle rights and safety federation, says 67 members of the group were there for the hearing. He says the fatal crash could have been even worse, had three motorcycles caught under the front of the car not stopped it from continuing to move. Tomann describes the scene as “over 500 feet of twisted debris” and one of the worst motorcycle crashes in history.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February 6.
Bob Nelson, KFIZ