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DRIVERS GET JAIL OVER INJURY IN ROAD-RAGE CASE

Two motorists involved in a 1998 Thruway road rage incident that left the passenger in one of the vehicles permanently brain-damaged were sentenced Wednesday to brief jail terms.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio ordered financial analyst Laurence A. Trembling, 36, of Seneca Street, West Seneca, to spend the next year in jail and scolded him for his "continuing course of conduct" that resulted in serious injuries to 23-year-old David Rappold of Westgate Boulevard, West Seneca.

Eric Barton, 19, of Big Tree Road, Hamburg, the victim's friend and driver of the rental car in which he was injured, was ordered to start serving a 60-day weekend sentence on Friday evening. That sentence was in line with a request from Rappold's parents, Mark and Judy Rappold.

The accident occurred when Trembling drove his pickup truck in front of Barton's car as Barton tried to pass him. They allegedly had been driving fast and cutting each other off for some distance.

Barton's car crashed into an embankment along the Thruway median just east of the Eden-Angola exit at about 5 p.m. July 18, 1998. Trembling fled the scene, but witnesses saw his license plate and reported it to police.

Before Trembling was taken from court in custody, he turned to Rappold's parents and said he was "truly sorry" for what happened to their son. But the judge noted he never expressed any remorse as he was interviewed by court officials in preparation for his sentencing.

The judge rejected a request from John K. Jordan, Trembling's attorney, that he be spared jail and ordered to perform community service in a hospital head trauma ward.

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