Man sentenced in fatal motorcycle accident

By: Kelly Sommariva

Friends and family of Lonnie Houchin filled the courtroom Monday. It was an emotional sentencing in Cass County, centering around the death of a Lincoln motorcyclist.

People who knew Houchin say they're not happy with the outcome, but at least there's some closure now that it's over with.

No sentence could heal the loss of their beloved Lonnie, who was 51 when he was hit and killed on his motorcycle last June. “Everyone who knew Lonnie was his friend. It was such a shock when it happened. It's a loss you don't wish on anybody,” said Doug Koozer, Lonnie's friend.

His best friend, Doug Koozer, was in the courtroom as the man who hit him was sentenced. Thirty days in jail, and two years probation.

65-year-old Norbert Esser apologized in court today. He doesn't have a criminal record, and there's no indication alcohol was a factor. He says he blacked out because of some heart medication he was on which caused the crash.

Esser was charged with vehicle homicide, a misdemeanor. Houchin's family has always said they believe that charge should be a felony.

“We're not happy with the outcome, it's closure so we're finished with it but maybe we need to start in Lincoln and get some laws changed. You could starve an animal and get more jail time than that,” said Koozer.

Esser told the judge he wished he could take it back, but was silent as he was led out of the courtroom. Outside, motorcycles like the one Houchin loved to ride with the Patriot Guard and the Shiners, fired up, and finally with some closure.

Lonnie's wife was in the courtroom. She was riding on the back of the motorcycle the day of the crash.