- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis man who struck two U.S. Army recruiters with his vehicle - dragging one of his victims for almost a mile before the man freed himself - was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 16 years in prison.

Enrico Taylor, 53, pleaded guilty last November to assault and criminal vehicular operation. At Friday’s sentencing, he wept loudly and asked Staff Sgt. Travis Torgerson for forgiveness.

Torgerson suffered severe injuries when he was dragged by Taylor last September.

“The time he gets, in my eyes, is very short,” Torgerson said. “I’ve seen atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have to go through this in my own backyard?”

Ramsey County District Court Judge Judith Tilson gave Taylor 189 months, the maximum allowed under state law.

Authorities say Torgerson and Staff Sgt. Michael Stroud were near a Roseville mall when they were hit by a Jeep Cherokee driven by Taylor, who did not slow down.

Stroud rolled over the top of Taylor’s Jeep, but Torgerson became stuck and was dragged. He suffered a broken leg, tailbone and ribs, and severe abrasions that required skin grafts.

Tilsen said it was a “miracle” Torgerson wasn’t killed, the Star Tribune reported.

While his leg was trapped in the undercarriage, Torgerson pulled his upper body up and hung on to the rear window’s windshield wiper. At one point, Taylor stopped his vehicle and tried to free Torgerson by kicking him, and then continued driving.

Taylor said it was an accident and that he’s blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other. He said he panicked and kept driving.

“This is just unspeakable behavior,” Tilsen said. “Tears and all, I’m not convinced.”

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