Sonora, CA — After a six day trial, it took jurors an hour to hand down the guilty verdict against 58-year-old George Michael Lane.
The conviction came down on Wednesday, according to Tuolumne County District Attorney Laura Krieg, who released the details of the case to the public on Friday. Lane was found guilty of seven felony counts and two misdemeanors. Krieg indicated the crimes included: felony evading, unlawful driving of a stolen vehicle, residential first degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, and two counts of driving with a suspended license. Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Novelli prosecuted the case and had this reaction to the verdict, “I am happy with the outcome. I’m happy to put someone…who poses a danger to the community, to get him off the streets.”
As previously reported, Lane led Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies on a 120 mph chase in January of last year along J-59 in a stolen vehicle. He was able to escape but was caught one day later in Groveland at the Twin Pine Apartments without incident. That case was combined with charges in three other incidents involving Lane. District Attorney Krieg’s office provided the details below:
All guilty verdicts were derived from events which occurred on 4 separate days. On the afternoon of August 22, 2014, the defendant, while driving a stolen Mazda Protégé that was haphazardly painted white after being stolen, failed to yield to California Highway Patrol officer on Old Priest Grade. He led the officer on a dangerous pursuit, traveling over the speed limit, driving in the opposite lane of traffic, unsafely passing multiple vehicles and throwing items from the vehicle. On December 27, 2014, the defendant was driving a blue Camaro without a visible license plate in the area of Groveland. When a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to pull the defendant over, the defendant failed to yield and led the officer on a dangerous pursuit of 5.2 miles in which he traveled over the speed limit, drove in the opposite lane of traffic, failed to stop at two stop signs, and straddled between lanes. On the afternoon of January 3, 2015, the defendant stole multiple items, including jewelry, from a residence in Jamestown. Later that evening, the defendant was confronted with the theft. He told the victim that he had her stuff and would be bringing it back; however, he never did.
On January 4, 2015 at approximately 2:30 am, a Tuolumne County Sheriff deputy was on patrol when he observed a blue Camaro traveling at a high rate of speed in the area of Chinese Camp. The deputy attempted a traffic stop. The blue Camaro failed to yield but lost control when making a right hand turn and came to a stop after almost colliding with a tree. The deputy pulled behind the blue Camaro when the Camaro quickly reversed and turned and accelerated into the deputy’s patrol vehicle, striking the patrol vehicle causing damage. The Camaro quickly accelerated away but spun in such a manner that allowed the deputy to see and identify the driver as the defendant. The defendant then led the deputy on a dangerous pursuit of 14.2 miles, reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour. Later that morning at 7:51 am, the blue Camaro was located in Groveland where it had the stolen jewelry located inside.
Lane is due back in a Tuolumne County Superior Court on August 8 and faces up to 27 years in prison. Novelli says she will be asking for the maximum.