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Couple Sues Sprewell for Car Crash

April 22, 1998

MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) _ A couple injured when Latrell Sprewell slammed into their car while swerving out of an exit-only lane has sued the suspended Golden State Warriors basketball player.

Arnulfo Perlas, 54, and Irma Feliciano, 53, of Antioch, were on their way to church March 1 when Sprewell cut across the freeway in Walnut Creek, hitting the back of their Toyota Corolla. Both cars rammed into a concrete wall and the Toyota flipped over, the California Highway Patrol said.

Witnesses said Sprewell, in a Mercedes convertible, had been weaving in and out of traffic at 90 mph on Interstate 680.

Perlas and Feliciano were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises but their injuries may be more severe and long-lasting, lawyer David Greenseid said Monday. Perlas, a mechanic, has returned to work on ``light duty,″ he said.

Sprewell already faces trial May 14 for misdemeanor reckless driving causing injury. He admitted to a CHP officer at the scene that he was speeding, but pleaded innocent. He could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Perlas and Feliciano are seeking unspecified exemplary, general and property damages, as well as medical costs, according to the suit filed Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Sprewell, convicted of reckless driving in Alabama in 1993, was fired from the Warriors in December after choking coach P.J. Carlesimo and threatening to kill him.

After the NBA suspended Sprewell for a year, an arbitrator reinstated his $32 million contract and reduced his suspension to the end of the season, saying the penalties were too harsh.

Sprewell is eligible to return to Golden State on July 1.

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