Motorcycle crash involving Muskegon group, Taycheedah, Wisc. (Courtesy: Patrick Flood/The Reporter, Fond du Lac, Wis.)
Clinton Lovelace appears in Fond du Lac, WI courtroom
FOND DU LAC, Mich. (The Reporter) -- Although he is suffering from amnesia, the man accused of killing two men and injuring eight others when he drove into a group of motorcyclists on Highway 151 north of Fond du Lac in May has been ruled competent for future court proceedings.
Clinton Lovelace of Hilbert made an appearance Thursday afternoon in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court before Judge Gary Sharpe.
More than 30 bikers appeared in court in a show of support for the 12 Michigan motorcyclists who were traveling on Highway 151 in the town of Taycheedah May 31 when Lovelace allegedly crossed the center line and struck 10 of the bikers.
Daniel Winsemius and Douglas Yonkers died and eight others were injured. Eric VanDam, who lost a leg in the incident, was released from the hospital Wednesday, according to Tim Tomann, representative of Abate of Wisconsin - a motorcycle rights and safety organization. VanDam spent 98 days in the hospital, with about 50 of those in an intensive care unit.
Tomann traveled to the hearing from Waukesha County and many others in the motorcycle "brotherhood" came from places like Oconto Falls, Little Suamico and Milwaukee to be present at the proceeding.
Tomann said it is extremely difficult for families of the Muskegan, Mich., bikers to attend Fond du Lac court hearings, so others are there to watch over the proceedings.
State Public Defender Mary Wolfe, who with Reisha Mitchell represented Lovelace, asked Sharpe to order a neurological exam that would address the amnesia issue raised in an exam addressing competency. She referenced a case that had come before the courts that dealt with amnesia and whether a defendant with amnesia could receive a fair trial.
Lovelace allegedly has no memory of the events immediately before and during the crash. It is uncertain whether he will regain his memory.
Fond du Lac County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Krueger said he did not believe Sharpe should order a neurological exam but suggested the defense hire a doctor with experience in amnesia.
Sharpe did not make a decision on the issue Thursday.
Tomann said the numerous court hearings re-open wounds for the victims' families and the motorcycling community.
"I would hope after what happened he (Lovelace) would have compassion for the families," Tomann said, adding that it is difficult for the victims and their families to move forward as long as the case is pending.
Tomann was among those admonished by Wolfe for taking photographs with his phone of the crowd of bikers before the hearing started.
A discussion ensued about the responsibility of the media in taking film, audio and still photographs and whether members of the court gallery - the audience - would be allowed to take photos or audio.
Krueger said it was a "new wrinkle" on social media that hadn't been addressed yet.
Sharpe said photos and video could be taken by the media when court was in session, but he did not believe it was appropriate for others who were not members of the media to do so.
Tomann may qualify as a member of the media because the motorcycle group has a newspaper that he contributes to.
By Laurie Ritger, Fond du Lac Reporter staff writer