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Man gets 7 years behind bars in crash that killed motorcyclist during funeral procession

A Lawrenceville man was given seven years behind bars after a fatal June 2017 crash on Friendship Road, in which a motorcyclist assisting a funeral procession was killed.

Michael Jesperson, 65, was given a 17-year sentence, with the first seven of those years in confinement, after entering a negotiated guilty plea on first-degree vehicular homicide. He will receive credit for some time served, and the remainder of the sentence may be served on probation.

According to the terms of the sentence, Jesperson “shall not drive or seek a license” before Jan. 15, 2029.

“Other than the fact that it now closes what is a traumatic event for the family of the person (who) is not with us anymore and Mr. Jesperson, I just hope everybody can continue to get on with their lives and that this resolves a truly tragic event,” Jesperson’s attorney Bruce Harvey said Friday, Jan. 18.

Jesperson was driving east June 4, 2017, in the left-turn lane on Friendship Road/Ga. 347 when he tried to turn left into a private driveway, according to the Georgia State Patrol. He turned his Ford Ranger in front of William Frey, who was traveling west on Friendship Road.

Frey, 70, of Duluth, was thrown from his motorcycle, according to the state patrol. Jesperson was not injured.

Frey was working for a company that assists in funeral processions and had flashing white lights and a siren on his motorcycle, Braselton Police Chief Terry Esco said.

He succumbed to his injuries at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

In an October indictment, Jesperson was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, reckless driving, funeral procession violation and failure to yield right of way.

Superior Court Judge Jason Deal gave Jesperson seven years to serve in confinement and eight years of probation on the vehicular homicide charge.

All of the other counts merged into the vehicular homicide count for sentencing except for the last two charges, which resulted in 12 months on probation for each count.