HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island couple is facing charges, accused of following a teenager on his bike after an incident involving fireworks.
That Huntington boy, 13-year-old Michael Brandine, spoke exclusively to CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis about the ordeal, which he says left him injured.
“I was confused and scared,” Michael said.
On Nov. 7, he ended up in the hospital, bloody, bruised and with a broken arm.
Michael says he was riding his bike that afternoon when he was cut off by a woman driving a white Porsche on Wall Street.
“I’m on the sidewalk and the husband gets out of the car and he starts chasing after me, and then he tackles me off of my bike and then he’s, like, on top of me, telling me to stay down and wait until police got there,” he said.
He believes the couple may have mistaken him for friends he was with earlier who had fireworks near their Huntington home.
“They thought that I threw the firecrackers even though it was my friend, and the wife said to me, like, ‘I know you didn’t do anything wrong,’ and I was a little confused because then why’d you tackle me?” Michael said.
Police identified the couple as 45-year-old Allison Napoli and 55-year-old Daniel Gambella, both dentists.
Napoli and Gambella are both charged with endangering the welfare of a child, plus a reckless driving charge for Napoli.
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Michael says the couple’s kids were in the car.
“Did you notice what the kids’ reaction was to this?” DeAngelis asked.
“They were, like, screaming at their dad and crying,” Michael said.
“These are professional people, with children. I mean, if someone did this to one of their children, how would they feel?” Kerri Brandine, Michael’s mother, said.
DeAngelis stopped by the couple’s home and was told through a security camera speaker, “We’re not talking to anybody about anything.”
The couple’s attorney called DeAngelis, claiming Michael was part of a group of kids who threw firecrackers at the couple’s 11-year-old daughter and that they followed him to try to identify him.
The attorney sent CBS2 surveillance video of the incident and claimed the teen crashed into a potted plant with Gambella chasing, then Gambella tripped over Michael and stood over him to call police.
Mitchel Birzon is representing the Brandine family.
“The fact that you have two educated people, any two adults, taking the law into their own hands … There’s just no excuse for it,” he said.
What kind of action a parent should take to defend their child will start to be determined when the couple is arraigned in court Jan. 15.
Meanwhile, Michael’s mother says he’s now behind in school because of what happened. His arm is expected to be in a cast for 12 weeks.