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Man gets probation in road-rage death

Evan Potts leaves the Nassau County Court. (Oct.

Evan Potts leaves the Nassau County Court. (Oct. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau County Court judge Tuesday spared Evan Potts from prison time for running over a Long Beach man in 2009 after a road-rage encounter.

A jury last June convicted Potts, 24, of Oceanside, of criminally negligent homicide but acquitted him of the top charge, second-degree manslaughter. He had faced a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

Judge Phillip Grella, who sentenced Potts to 5 years of probation, did not comment on his specific reasons for the sentence.

But he said, "I understand each side's position, and I respect each side's position."

Potts said outside court: "I plan to show him [the judge] his trust was well-deserved.

Relatives of Ian Sharinn, who was killed after he and Potts got into an argument at a busy Long Beach intersection in May 2009, left the Mineola courthouse without commenting.

But in court, they said repeatedly that Potts showed no remorse for causing the death of a man whom they loved.

"We will live with the knowledge that Ian died a violent death," said Sharinn's sister-in-law, Deborah Sharinn, in court. "Evan Potts has never taken any responsibility for the horror he inflicted."

Sharinn's fiancee described how she went from shopping for furniture for her new home with Sharinn, to shopping for a coffin for the man she loved.

"Now I have no one," said Mandy Deshrage, 31. "I have a lifetime of never-agains."

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement that she was disappointed by the sentencing.

"Road rage cases are serious crimes that can impact all of us," Rice said. "Evan Potts made a series of decisions that led to Ian Sharinn's senseless death and this . . . does not go far enough to hold him accountable."

Potts' lawyer, Stanley Kopilow of Garden City, argued at trial that his client had no choice but to drive into Sharinn, 34. The irate 6-foot-5 Sharinn blocked the road in front of the 5-foot-8 Potts with his car.

Sharinn stood, arms raised, in front of Potts' one escape route, witnesses said.

Another car driven by someone not involved with the dispute had pulled up behind Potts so he could not back up or turn around, witnesses said.

"Never before has a dead man been so involved in causing his own death," Kopilow said in court Tuesday. "He was an oversized bully looking for street justice from a young man half his size."

Potts said in court that he knew he would "never be able to comprehend" the loss suffered by Sharinn's loved ones.

But he said it was a tragedy that could have been avoided.

"All I wanted to do was get away," he said. "I thought I could get away, and unfortunately I was wrong."

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