Old Lyme woman faces 7 years in drunken driving crash that killed motorcyclist

An Old Lyme woman is facing seven years in prison for causing a 2012 crash on Interstate 95 in East Lyme that claimed the life of one motorcyclist and seriously injured three others, including the deceased man’s fiancée.

Christiana Morton-Lane, 25, of 64 Browns Lane entered no contest pleas Monday to second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, three counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated. Prosecutors have recommended a sentence of 12 years suspended after seven years in prison followed by five years of probation.

The pleas were entered during a court appearance Monday in New London Superior Court attended by several victims and their family members, records show. Morton-Lane, a mother of two, is due to be sentenced on April 2 following a pre-sentence investigation.

At 1:10 a.m. on July 8, 2012, Morton-Lane was driving a Ford Escort on the Rocky Neck connector headed toward I-95 South when state police said she lost control, struck and rode up onto a wire rope guardrail and crossed into oncoming traffic of I-95 South, according to a state police report.

Robert Burr Jr., 35, of Clinton was killed when his Harley-Davidson motorcycle impacted Morton-Lane’s vehicle. His passenger and fiancée, Emily Gorin, 31, was thrown from the bike and critically injured. Two other people, Dwaine Wilcox, 51, and his passenger Sharon Gell, 54, were seriously injured when their motorcycle struck the first motorcycle. Morton-Lane was not injured.

Police said Morton-Lane failed a field sobriety test at the scene, and blood tests revealed a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit of 0.08. Morton-Lane admitted having several drinks with friends at the Lyme Tavern prior to the crash, according to a state police report.

Joanne Wilcox said the “tragic and senseless death,” of her grandson, Burr Jr., left a serious hardship for his family, which includes three children.

“His children no longer have a dad to guide or comfort them,” she wrote in a letter to the court.

Morton-Lane is currently incarcerated at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, records show. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Kennedy. Morton-Lane is represented by attorney Jennifer Nowak.

g.smith@theday.com

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