'Prison Break' Actor Receives 40-Month Jail Sentence
Lane Garrison was driving drunk in the accident that killed a teenActor Lane Garrison was sentenced today to 40 months in state prison for his role in a fatal car crash in December that killed one Beverly Hills High School student and injured two other teenagers.
Garrison, who once starred on the TV show "Prison Break," looked calm and crisp in a taupe suit and white shirt as Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox pronounced his sentence in a Beverly Hills courtroom packed with friends and family of victim Vahagn Setian, who was 17 at the time of the accident. Many of them wore T-shirts with Setian's face on the front and a quote on the back that read, "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."
Also in the courtroom were at least a couple of dozen friends and relatives of Garrison, some of whom left crying.
Fox could have imposed a maximum sentence of six years and eight months. The actor's attorney, Harland Braun, said his client would probably serve less than half the term.
Outside the courthouse, one of the surviving teens, Michelle Ohana, 16, an El Camino High School student, clung to her boyfriend's arm and said, "I'm just happy he got what he deserved."
Garrison, 27, crashed his sport utility vehicle into a tree while driving drunk on Dec. 2. The actor was not arrested at the scene, but later blood tests showed he had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit of .08% and was under the influence of cocaine.
He pleaded guilty in May to driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Garrison met the victims in a grocery store and went with them to a party, where prosecutors alleged he drank vodka before driving the teens back to the market for more alcohol. He later crashed the car in the 300 block of South Beverly Drive.
As Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph Markus laid out the timetable of that evening, describing how Garrison, then 26, bought the teens alcohol and talked about being an actor on television, Garrison furrowed his brow and shook his head a bit.
"This case is not about the defendant being a celebrity," Markus said during an impassioned statement to the judge. "It's the use of that status to influence the children."
Garrison apologized to the Setian family during his May court appearance, but Markus argued that the actor wasn't truly sorry and was more concerned about his own predicament.
Braun described his client as "philosophical" and accepting of the sentence. "He's going to survive. He'll be out in about 18 months.... He said to me: 'Look, there was an accident. Someone's dead. I'm alive. I'm the lucky one,' " Braun said.
Braun told the judge he thinks Garrison will be interested in firefighting as a prison inmate. "It's dangerous," Braun said. "But it's out in the open."
Times staff writer Jason Song contributed to this report.