Victim pleads for leniency for hit-and-run driver

August 13, 2010 2:18:15 PM PDT
A hit-and-run victim in New Jersey who spent a month in a coma was in court Friday pleading for leniency for the man who hit him.

Walking slowly through the courthouse hall, 53-year-old Ricardo Torres might be missing a kidney and a spleen, but he is filled with a desire to live, and has compassion for the man who almost killed him.

It was a year ago last June when a camera captured the horrific scene of 19-year-old Anthony Pane racing through a red light and running Torres down.

Pane never stopped to look and see if Torres was alive or dead.

A month in a coma, broken bones and the loss of organs and disfiguring scares, and when he had the chance to put his hit and run driver behind bars for years, he passed.

"The only reason my wife and i agreed to take the serious charge of aggravated assault off the table is because we are compassionate people," said Torres.

Torres asked the prosecutor to make a deal with Pane, 364 days in jail for a guilty plea.

He was compassionate indeed, but stern when given the chance to address pane for the first time.

"He is a coward and so are any of his friends and family who knew and failed to provide him guidance and face his wrongful actions," adds Torres.

Pane agreed through tears. He turned and spoke directly to Torres and his wife.

"I just wanted to say how sorry I am to Mr. Torres, and you're right, I am a coward for that day. I just want you to know how sorry I am, and how thankful I am that you and your wife are showing compassion to me," said Pane.

In addition to the 364 days behind bars, Pane receives two years probation and 100 hours of community service.

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