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Actor pleads guilty in fatal crash

Lane Garrison could face more than six years in prison in the death of a teen in Beverly Hills.

May 22, 2007|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

Actor Lane Garrison pleaded guilty Monday to several alcohol-related driving charges, including vehicular manslaughter, in connection with the death in December of a popular Beverly Hills High School student.

The onetime star of the Fox television drama "Prison Break" could face up to six years and eight months behind bars after admitting responsibility for the accident in which 17-year-old Vahagn Setian was killed and two 15-year-old girls were seriously injured.

Garrison, who turns 27 on Wednesday, was driving his 2001 Land Rover when it crashed into a tree on South Beverly Drive near Olympic Boulevard just before midnight Dec. 2.

The three teenagers were passengers in Garrison's SUV. Authorities said the vehicle was traveling at more than 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.

At the time of the accident, Beverly Hills police questioned Garrison but did not arrest him. Blood tests subsequently showed the actor was driving under the influence of cocaine and had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit.

Police had recommended charging Garrison with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, which could have increased his potential prison time to 14 years, but prosecutors did not find grounds for that charge.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Elden Fox on Monday, Garrison pleaded guilty to one felony count of driving under the influence, causing injury to multiple victims, and one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. He also admitted causing great bodily injury and death and driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.15%.

Garrison does not have a plea deal with prosecutors, but the judge could take into account his willingness to admit wrongdoing in handing down a sentence.

"It is very unusual for anyone to accept responsibility these days for their conduct. And he has done it," Garrison's attorney, Harland Braun, said after the hearing.

The judge set sentencing for Aug. 2.

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