JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A driver pleaded guilty Monday to leading New Jersey police on a high-speed chase ending in a fiery crash that burned a bystander who was then allegedly kicked and dragged by officers.
Leo Pinkston entered the plea to charges of eluding and aggravated assault in a deal with prosecutors, The Jersey Journal reports . He is expected to be sentenced March 16 to up to five years in prison.
During the June 4 pursuit in Jersey City, Pinkston crashed into a car being driven by Miguel Feliz, a young father who was on his way home from work. A video shows Feliz exiting his car with his clothes on fire before being kicked by the officers.
A police union official has said the officers tried to help Feliz.
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Feliz has filed a notice outlining his intent to sue Jersey City and its police department for $25 million.
Jersey City police Lt. Keith Ludwig and officers M.D. Khan, Eric Kosinski and Francisco Rodriguez face charges including aggravated assault. Khan and Kosinski also are charged with attempted murder.
The city’s public safety director, James Shea, has said that police violated several protocols during the chase, including firing at Pinkston’s moving vehicle.
Accounting for time served, Pinkston could be eligible for parole sometime next month.
“If you ask me, it sounds like a good deal,” judge Mark Nelson said. “If you’re not guilty, then it’s not a good deal.”
Had the case gone to trial, Pinkston could have faced up to 20 years in prison.
Information from: The Jersey Journal , http://www.nj.com/jjournal