Defendant in fatal crash released under strict supervision

An Old Lyme woman who has been held on drunken driving charges since her involvement in a fatal crash on July 8 on Interstate 95 has been released from prison under strict supervision so that she can get her affairs in order.

State police charged Christiana Morton-Lane, 23, of Browns Lane, with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs following the crash at the southbound ramp to Exit 72.

According to a police report, Morton-Lane, who was driving a Ford Escort, went off the ramp and into the guardrail, then back onto the ramp and into the southbound travel lane, colliding with a motorcycle which was then struck by a second motorcycle. Motorcyclist Robert Burr, 35, of Clinton was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger and two others on the second motorcycle were hospitalized.

At Morton-Lane’s initial court appearance, a New London Superior Court judge set her bond at $100,000 in anticipation of an expected additional charge of manslaughter. She has been held in lieu of that bond at the Janet S. York Correctional Institution since the incident, but no new charges have been filed.

Morton-Lane’s attorney, Jennifer Nowak, asked Judge John J. Nazzaro to reduce the bond so that Morton-Lane, a mother of two minor children who has significant health issues, could “wrap up her affairs until she is re-incarcerated.” Nowak said Morton-Lane, who has no prior criminal record, has already served four months in prison on the DUI charge, which carries a maximum sentence of six months.

The judge agreed to release Morton-Lane on a written promise to appear in court and explained his decision in detail to the victims’ relatives in the courtroom.

Nazzaro ordered Morton-Lane released to live with family members under intensive supervision. She is to be fitted with a GPS bracelet and be allowed to leave home only for medical, social service and legal appointments. She is not to consume alcohol or drive and is required to turn in her driver’s license. The judge also recommended that she be tested frequently for the presence of alcohol and said she would be re-incarcerated if any is detected.

— Karen Florin

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