Driver sentenced in death

A Greenwood man will spend a year in work release and another year on home detention after causing a motorcycle crash that killed his girlfriend.

William Lambert, 34, was sentenced in Brown County this week after pleading guilty to one charge of reckless homicide. He also will spend another two years on probation, will have to complete 800 hours of community service, was fined $500 and was ordered not to ride a motorcycle while on probation.

His girlfriend, Jennifer “Danielle” Garrison, 27, Greenwood, was killed after being thrown off the back of his motorcycle and was hit by a truck in

September 2013.

The judge sentenced Lambert to an advisory term of four years but chose to allow him to serve his time at the county jail instead of sending him to prison, Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver said. The judge found some aggravating factors, including that Lambert wasn’t licensed to operate a motorcycle and has had multiple traffic violations, Oliver said. But Lambert has maintained a good job for several years and has four children ages 5 to 12 that he has been caring for and supporting financially with his ex-wife, Oliver said.

“There would be a severe impact on the children if he went to prison for a long time, and (the judge0 also found that imposing a suspended sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the offense,” Oliver said.

Garrison’s father spoke at the sentencing and stated that his daughter had made a strong connection with Lambert’s children in the time they were together. He requested that Lambert be ordered to speak to driver education or traffic classes about the importance of safe driving, which Lambert agreed to try to do as part of the 800 hours of community

service, Oliver said.

Lambert’s attorney, Mario Garcia, did not return phone calls.

On Sept. 5, 2013, Lambert was driving his motorcycle south on State Road 135 about 3 miles south of Morgantown, heading to a biker festival at Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom. He was traveling with his family but fell behind in traffic while following their camper.

He attempted to catch up to his family by passing a sport utility vehicle and the camper as they approached a hill. As he neared top of a hill, a truck crested it heading north. Lambert slammed on the brakes, causing the motorcycle to fishtail, tip and slide across the pavement.

The truck swerved to avoid the motorcycle but hit Garrison, who was thrown off when Lambert lost control. Garrison was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Lambert suffered a shoulder injury.

Police determined that Lambert was attempting to pass in a clearly marked no-passing zone. He also did not have an endorsement on his license allowing him to drive a motorcycle.

The motorcycle was likely traveling more than 80 mph when Lambert slammed on the brakes, police said.