Lovelace sentenced to 8 years in prison for crash with Michigan cyclists

8:14 AM, Feb 7, 2014   |    comments
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Clinton Lovelace, charged in a crash with twelve motorcycle from Michigan that killed two riders and injured others, sits down in Judge Sharpe's courtroom for his plea hearing. Tuesday September 24, 2013. / Patrick Flood/Action Reporter Media

FOND DU LAC, Wisc. (Fond du Lac Reporter) -- A Hilbert, Wisconsin man who drove into a group of Michigan motorcyclists in 2012, killing two of the cyclists and injuring several others, will spend 8 years in prison.

Fond du Lac County Circuit Court Judge Gary Sharpe also sentenced 27-year-old Clinton Lovelace to 15 years extended supervision.

Lovelace was sentenced to 3 years in prison for each of the two cyclists that he killed and two years for severely injuring the other cyclists. He was also placed on probation for seven years.

Fond du Lac County Deputy District Attorney Dennis Krueger asked the court to sentence Lovelace to 20 years behind bars.

Defense attorneys asked the judge for a 1 to 2-year sentence.

The courtroom was packed with victims, family members and a large contingent of motorcyclists from around the state supporting members of the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang. The group was on a tour through Wisconsin and Michigan when the crash occurred on Highway 151 north of Fond du Lac.

The father of one of the cyclists killed in the crash broke down while addressing the court and couldn't continue today. Several members of the victims' families spoke during the hearing. Many said they were "living life sentences" since the crash.

A number of graphic photos depicting the crash scene were presented to the court.

Lovelace avoided trial when he entered pleas to five charges in September 2013, including no contest pleas to two homicide charges for the two motorcycle riders he killed: Daniel Winsemius, 59, of Twin Lake, Mich., and Douglas Yonkers, 43, of Muskegon, Mich.

Lovelace entered Alford pleas, admitting sufficient evidence exists to convince a judge or jury of his guilt, to three counts of second degree reckless injury. The charges relate to critical injuries sustained by three motorcyclists: Eric "Rick" VanDam, who lost a leg in the crash, Garry Ferris and Douglas Williams.

Five others sustained less serious injuries and two of the group escaped without injuries.

Lovelace was traveling near Welling Beach Road in the town of Taycheedah when he crossed the center line and hit 10 of the 12 motorcyclists.

Lovelace admitted taking oxycodone, but the level of drug in his system at the time of the crash could not be determined by the State Crime Lab. Tests were taken three hours after the crash while Lovelace was receiving medical treatment.

Authorities found unused syringes in the pocket of Lovelace's jeans in a bag at the hospital. Drug-related charges filed early in the case were replaced with the five charges he was convicted of.

Laurie Ritger may be reached at lritger@fdlreporter.com or (920) 907-7925.

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