"I will live with a sense of guilt for the rest of my life," the Prison Break actor tells PEOPLE

By Lorenzo Benet
March 13, 2007 05:15 PM

Prison Break actor Lane Garrison, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of a 17-year-old Beverly Hills boy, has spoken out for the first time since the fatal December car accident.

“I pray every day for all the families involved,” Garrison tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I realize I will live with a sense of guilt for the rest of my life.”

On Dec. 2, Garrison, who played “Tweener” on the FOX jailhouse drama, was driving his Land Rover SUV in Beverly Hills with three teenage passengers when the vehicle struck a tree at 11:52 p.m.

Vahagn Setian, 17, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. A 15-year-old girl, also in the car, is recuperating at home with a fractured pelvis and shattered arm; a second girl, also 15, was not seriously injured.

Police later said Garrison had cocaine in his system and more than twice the legal blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash.

Garrison was charged earlier this month with one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and without gross negligence, driving under the influence causing injury to multiple victims and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol level causing injury, as well as one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

He was to be arraigned March 8, but his attorney, Harland Braun, requested more time before entering a plea. Bail was set at $100,000 and Garrison faces up to six years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

The actor is due back in court on April 11, but Braun wants to meet with the district attorney prior to that date to discuss the specific charges. “We plan to plead guilty to some charges and the sentencing will be up to the judge,” Braun tells PEOPLE. “Lane accepts responsibility; the judge will decide sentencing and Lane will accept it.”

Garrison’s defense team is looking into his blood-alcohol results and the vehicle’s speed at the time of the accident as possible factors the judge could consider at sentencing, Braun says, but he adds that any relevant findings “are nothing that will go toward exoneration.”

Paul Kiesel, the Beverly Hills-based attorney for Vahagn Setian’s family, tells PEOPLE his clients have no comment beyond a previously released statement in which they expressed satisfaction at the criminal charges.

“The Setians will do all they can to assist the District Attorney’s office to ensure that justice is served,” the statement said. “They hope this is a message to other public figures not to abuse drugs, alcohol and the public trust afforded to them by their fame.”