Chopper builder hurt in fatal crash
Billy Lane's truck, motorcycle collide on A1A near Melbourne Beach, Florida
BY J.D. GALLOP
Local motorcycle shop owner Billy Lane, who has appeared on the Discovery Channel's “Biker Build-Off” and “Monster Garage,” was injured in a head-on traffic accident Monday that left a man riding a small moped dead.
The 9 p.m. accident involving the 36-year-old Lane, the owner of the Melbourne-based Choppers Inc. and a resident of Melbourne Beach, occurred on State Road A1A south of Melbourne Beach near the intersection of Ballyshannon Street. Florida Highway Patrol investigators said Lane was trying to pass two other vehicles on a double yellow-lined portion of A1A when his southbound 2006 Dodge Ram pickup collided with a northbound 1983 Yamaha moped.
The motorcyclist, identified as 56-year-old Melbourne Beach resident Gerald Morelock, was wearing a helmet. He suffered extensive injuries during the collision with the pickup and was pronounced dead at the scene. “Lane hit the motorcycle head on, and then the pickup hit a power pole,” said Kim Miller, spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick O'Neill confirmed that Morelick was riding the small motor bike. “But it was street legal,” O'Neill said this morning. Miller said a passenger in the custom-painted black pickup, identified as 22-year-old Erin Derrick of Rockledge, was also injured in the crash. Lane and Derrick were transported to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.
Lane was treated and released while Derrick remained in stable condition this afternoon, hospital officials said. Lane, a tattoo-adorned, dreadlocked chopper-building legend was semi-conscious at the accident scene. He is known nationally for his work building custom-made motorcycles.
Florida Highway Patrol traffic homicide investigators said no charges were filed, but added they were waiting on the results of blood-alcohol tests, which were sent to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement state lab for evaluation.
Employees contacted at Lane's Choppers Inc. this morning would not comment about the accident.