In The Spirit: Scott Lane

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Passing through Colerain Township just north of Cincinnati, 41-year-old plumber Scott Lane, saw his nightmare unfold. His springtime cross-country trip was uneventful up to this point, but now he faced the fear that awakens motorcyclists from their sleep – a careening car crossing into his lane and heading straight for him. At the wheel, 24-year-old Amber Schwartz, her blood infused with morphine and oxymorphine, was feeling neither pain nor anxiety. Despite laying the bike down, the crash was unavoidable.

Lane lost his left leg below the knee and fractured his arm. “I could see blood spraying out of my leg,” Lane would say later. He also broke four ribs and would undergo nine surgeries to reconstruct his shattered body. Lane would never ride his motorcycle again, nor enjoy his hobby of distance running. He would not return to work as a plumber either. In short, he was a man with every right to be angry — even bitter — and to demand the fullest measure of justice.

If he was angry, he would have an ally on November 15, 2010, when he appeared before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman. Amber Schwartz was not the kind of defendant who usually enjoys the favor of the court. Mother of three young children, she had been high on prescription drugs when the crash occurred. Police charged her with aggravated vehicular assault for the reckless and irresponsible behavior that left Lane an amputee.

What happened that day in Cincinnati stunned even veteran court watchers. Fully expecting Judge Ruehlman to meet out the maximum punishment for the crime — eight years imprisonment — those in the courtroom anticipated an impassioned, but largely unneeded, demand from the victim to throw the book at Schwartz. No one would have faulted the broken man for righteous indignation and a plea for justice. From his wheelchair, Lane did speak powerfully and passionately about life and injury and human frailty. The plea made an immediate impact on the Judge, but perhaps not as anyone expected. You see, Lane did plead for understanding and compassion that day, but for the perpetrator of the horrendous crime and not for himself.

Lane said “too much has been lost already; sending Schwartz to prison wouldn’t bring his leg back. Instead it would take a mother from her three children.” Judge Ruehlman was moved. “I don’t find that very often, where our victim has that much compassion,” Ruehlman said. “It’s amazing.”

Ruehlman sentenced Schwartz to five years probation and mandatory attendance at a drug rehabilitation program that will take her about four months to complete. She has to help Lane pay the $41,000.00 in unpaid medical expenses he incurred. Lane hopes Schwartz beats her addiction. With his incredible compassion as a guide, it’s a still only a possibility. “Maybe, just maybe, somebody else doesn’t have to go through what I went through,” Lane said.

Love conquers all — even revenge.

Merry Christmas, Scott Lane. It’s a privilege sharing the same world with you.

Sources:; The Columbus

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

15 thoughts on “In The Spirit: Scott Lane”

  1. I missed my flight from Orlando to Memphis and put on a plane to Cincinatti because God wanted me to meet Scott Lane. You are an example of optimism, kindness, courage and endurance. It is a priviledge to say that I have met you and will make the possible turns to get to know you better. May your life be filled with many rewards and sunshine. Blessings to you Scott!!!

  2. I love you dad! I am so lucky to have you in my life. You have taught me so much and the kind of person I should be. I am so prud of you for all that you have accomplished. xoxo

  3. You are the same great guy now as you were before the accident. We love you like a son.

    Thanks for plowing our driveway, AGAIN!!!

  4. Hey, Scott! I am truly impressed with your story of forgiveness and courage. That’s why I wrote about it on the blog. Grace under pressure is incredibly difficult. I love hearing from primary sources. Bravo!

  5. Scott Lane,

    “May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
    May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
    so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.” (Celtic)

  6. Hi everyone thanks for your comments. Frank I too am sorry for the injustices your family has faced. I am not a better man than anyone. I just kept thinking about her kids and the life they would have without a mother. I saw the cycle repeating itself. Maybe with this help she is getting she can learn to be a better person and mother. It was easier too for me to forgive her because she was not a repeat offender. In fact she had never been arrested before.

    I have grown more than words can say since my accident. I believe I woke up from the accident so that I could help people and live my life to the fullest. I got a second chance to be the man I should have been all along. The accident made me realize how important the little things in life are and how easily they can be taken from us. I now have a chance to “LIVE LIKE I WAS DYING” In the words of the great country artist Tim Mcgraw ha ha.

    I am in the training phase of a 716 mile bicycle ride to raise money for kids who are amputees. There are many great causes out there, but this is one I am especially close to. If you have any interest in riding in this ride I call The I’m READY ride(riding to empower amputee determined youth)you can contact me via email at There was a nice article in the Sunday Enquirer here in Cincinnati on Sunday Dec. 26th. You can go to and search Scott Lane to find the article.




  7. Wow….a true gentleman…..if only I could have the humility of this amazing man….

  8. Frank, What a horrible, unfair, evil thing to have visited on your nephew and family. Your feelings are absolutely understandable and the free-ride drunk drivers have historically been given in our society is appalling IMO. I am gladened and inspired by the fact that there are people like Scott Lane in the world but I’m not there yet either.

  9. Mespo,

    Thanks for your “In the Spirit” postings. There are many exceptional individuals with inspiring stories that we rarely hear about.

    Happy Holidays!

  10. My nephew was hit on his cycle by a repeat drunk driver. The driver ran before sentencing to avoid prosecution. There was 18 months of recuperation (Dr. told him he was only alive because he was wearing a helmet & full leathers). He is still unable to work in his chosen profession but the State of Az has told him he is not disabled despite limited use of his arms, an inability to stand for long periods and some cognitive difficulties.

    My cousin was run down by a repeat drunk driver at 2 in the afternoon. The drunk was out celebrating his release from prison that morning for killing another person while drunk driving. My cousin was a nurse who worked in a terminal ward giving care and compassion to people during the last moments of their lives or the lives of their loved ones.

    Fuck anyone that drives impaired, fuck them sideways. If that makes the guy in this story a better man then me I can live with that knowledge.

  11. Mr. Lane:

    Being an ex-bike rider myself,I know the thoughts of the vulnerability that goes through our minds when we ride but just accept those things as fact and continue to ride always defensively.

    The situation that you went through happened within a blink of an eye as do most accidents involving a motorcycle,the indescribable feeling you get when an awareness travels through your whole body before impact no one can describe.

    When looking up either the word “HEART” & “COMPASSION” I’m quite sure that your picture is listed next to both.

  12. Wow.

    I can only reiterate the sentiments of mespo, seconded by Blouise and add that not only is it a privilege to share the same world with a man of your character, but an honor.

  13. “Merry Christmas, Scott Lane. It’s a privilege sharing the same world with you.”

    That says it all.

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