Official recommends no parole for Chattanooga man convicted in Unum employee death

Official recommends no parole for Chattanooga man convicted in Unum employee death

March 13th, 2012 by Todd South in News

Jeremy Lane enters Judge Don Poole's courtroom.

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The first parole official to hear from a Chattanooga man in prison for the 2009 vehicular homicide death of a Unum employee said he would not grant parole and recommended the man serve his entire sentence.

Jeremy Allen Lane, 27, has served two years of his seven-year sentence for the Dec. 23, 2009, death of 42-year-old Susan Wood.

On Tuesday morning, Lane had his initial parole hearing via video conference from Morgan County Correctional Complex with Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole member Yusuf Hakeem in Chattanooga.

Hakeem told Lane he would not recommend him for parole and further would recommend Lane not receive another parole hearing, said Melissa McDonald, parole board spokeswoman.

If that proposal is approved by three more of the seven board members in the next two to four weeks, Lane must appeal the decision to leave prison earlier than 2017.

McDonald said Hakeem's decision will be forwarded to the other board members for review. Members could agree in part or disagree in part, she said, and some could decide that Lane won't get parole now but could order another hearing in a year or more.

Wood's husband, brother and sister attended the video conference hearing at the board's office on McCallie Avenue. Matt Wood, Susan's husband, said seeing Lane on the screen and hearing his voice was like reliving last year's trial.

"It all just kind of came flooding back to me," he said in a phone interview after the hourlong hearing.

Steve Berry, Wood's brother, said that, in the hearing, Hakeem questioned Lane about his remorse. Family members of both Wood and Lane also spoke for and against his parole, Berry said.

Both Berry and Wood said Lane's statements about the accident still didn't seem sincere and he continued to refuse to take full responsibility for Susan Wood's death.

Lane's car struck her as she walked across the street at Walnut and Fourth streets on her way to work at Unum.

One of Lane's co-workers at the Chattanooga Billiards Club testified in the trial that she was on the phone with Lane when he struck Susan Wood with his 1995 Nissan 240SX.

The co-worker testified that Lane said, "Oh my God, I think I hit someone."

But Lane did not stop. Instead he fled, parked his car at the Riverview Grande apartments on Dallas Road, called 911 and concocted a story about being carjacked.

Lane was allowed a parole hearing based on the 26 months he's served, which included more than a year in jail awaiting trial.