MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBS 2) -- In a case that got national attention, a college student is now on trial for running over and killing a Long Island man. Prosecutors call it road rage, but defense attorneys say their client was afraid for his life.
Emotions flowed as the trial began. Evan Potts, the Queens College student accused in the deadly road rage, walked right past the family of the Long Beach man he had run over and killed. Ian Sharinn's relatives have been privately grieving for two years.
"We lost a very dear family member that day," sister-in-law Deborah Sharinn said. "Thank you."
In a courtroom packed with supporters from both sides, spellbound jurors heard how Potts accidentally cut off Ian Sharinn at a Long Beach intersection. And following a two-mile verbal argument -- shouting at one another as they drove side by side -- Sharinn exited his yellow Porsche twice and confronted Potts, kicking his rented Nissan Altima.
Potts called 9-1-1 as Sharinn grabbed the Altima door frame. Potts accelerated and Sharinn fell beneath the tires and was crushed, said witnesses who will be called to testify.
"And the kid was on the accelerator. He went right over him like a cat in the road," one witness told CBS 2 at the time of the incident.
Since that day, Evan Potts' parents have been standing behind their son
"I love him," his mother said.
"My son is not a killer. He was running for his life," added his father.
Defense attorney Stanley Kopilow told the jury Sharinn was an enraged lunatic out for revenge, that the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Sharinn was pursuing the smaller Potts like a predator.
"He tracked Evan. He stalked him. He tried to get him to fight," Kopilow said.
Potts is not speaking about the case, but before the trial told CBS 2 exclusively:
"All I have to say is that I am glad that I'm able to be out to defend myself against these charges," Potts said.
Next up, jurors will soon hear a frantic 9-1-1 call Potts made just before Sharinn's left foot was pinned under the wheel and he was crushed under the car.
The trial is expected to last about a month. Both audio and videotape evidence will be played to the jury.
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