A man from Norway moved to the United States years ago for a fresh start. But he's been sitting in a Navajo County jail the last few months after running over a woman's toe. And some say the punishment is way too harsh.
John Larsgard said he was bullied in Norway so he moved to Chicago to start over. But ever since he's had a string of bad luck, and now that bad luck - and perhaps some poor judgment - have landed him in jail for the next 7 1/2 years.
"I have my window down and one guy comes up and punches me in the face because I drove the wrong way on a one-way street," said Larsgard, telling someone what happened at a Winslow music festival last year. You can hear the panic in his voice in the audio from Norwegian station VGTV. It's that day that led to a sentence of more than seven years in jail.
"We had people hurt emotionally," said a Navajo County judge in Larsgard's sentencing Wednesday morning.
After a string of seemingly unlucky situations here in the U.S. - including getting assaulted and accused of being a terrorist - Larsgard and his mom drove to L.A. But they had car troubles and stopped in Winslow. They landed in a mob of people, and Larsgard panicked.
"Here we have a vehicle driving crazy and he hit somebody," an officer said in a 911 dispatch call obtained by VGTV. Larsgard drove over a woman's toe and scratched another person. Several police officers came, drew their weapons and arrested him. We're told his mom was arrested too but later released.
"Completely a misunderstanding and blown out of proportion," said Larsgard's attorney, Criss Candelaria, to VGTV. Local defense attorney Vladimir Gagic, who is not connected to the case, agrees.
"I feel bad for the guy, it's something that's completely out of proportion with decency and common sense," Gagic said. He added that while the sentence seemed a little harsh to him, it's not very surprising and is consistent with federal and state laws. That's because from the law's point of view, Larsgard used the car as a deadly weapon.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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