Road rage stabbing nets prison time for ex-prison guard
Updated 10:05 p.m.
BALLSTON SPA As blood flowed from Jeffrey Streicher’s three stab wounds, staining the road and then the inside of his car, he was certain he was dying.
In the moments after a road rage incident in September 2011, his first thought wasn’t getting medical help — it was spending what he thought were his last moments with his wife, Linda, who was shopping at a nearby CVS Pharmacy.
“After I was stabbed in the back, all I could think of was I had to get to Linda to say goodbye,” the Gloversville man wrote in a statement that his brother, Brian Streicher, read aloud Thursday in Saratoga County Court before Streicher’s attacker, Frank Soriano, was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.
Jeffrey Streicher, 42, has since recovered physically from the incident, in which Soriano stabbed him in the back, in the side of the abdomen and near the elbow when they pulled their cars over after a minor accident at Carr and Northern Pines roads in Wilton.
Authorities said the two men exchanged harsh words and punches and then Streicher turned around to go back to his car when Soriano attacked him from behind, pulling him into a bear hug, throwing him against the side of the car and stabbing him.
Streicher wrote in his statement that he hasn’t recovered emotionally, relating how more than a year after the incident, he anxiously pulls to the side of the road if he thinks someone behind him is following too closely.
“The emotional and physical scars will always be with me,” he wrote.
Soriano, 66, a former state corrections officer from Wilton, was convicted of second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon and faced 2 to 7 years in prison. He was acquitted of two other charges against him, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. Soriano maintained he was defending himself against a younger, taller man who was punching him.
Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry Scarano sentenced him to one year in prison for possessing the knife and five years for using it. The two terms will run concurrently.
On Thursday, Soriano read his own statement, turning to Streicher and making eye contact as he apologized for his actions.
“I am sincerely sorry. I sincerely hope that you can go on with your life,” he said.
Soriano said if the two men met years down the road, he hoped “we can have a soda or a beer together.”
Streicher, sitting in the courtroom, nodded and accepted the apology, telling Soriano: “That’s the kind of person I am.”
Seventeen letters in support of Soriano’s character were included in his pre-sentence investigation report, including some from people in the law enforcement community who knew Soriano when he worked as a prison guard.
Copies of citations lauding him at his retirement also were included. One of them was signed by Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III, said Soriano’s defense attorney, Michael Koenig.
But on Thursday, Murphy’s words about Soriano were less than complimentary.
“So many corrections officers called my office to urge us to press forward with this prosecution, telling me that Soriano is an aberration and needs to go to prison for his violent conduct,” he said in a statement. “No one is above the law, not even Soriano, who as a former corrections officer was sworn to uphold it.”
Soriano and his attorney asked for mercy in the sentence, citing Soriano’s age and health conditions — diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Assistant District Attorney Ann Sullivan asked for Scarano to give Soriano the maximum, seven years in prison. She said Soriano has a “misguided and pretentious belief” that it’s his right to enforce the law himself.
“One’s choices and actions should always have consequences,” she said.
Koenig said after the sentencing he would have liked to see Soriano get less time.
“It is always difficult after trial conviction to get a lenient sentence,” he said. “I think the judge tried to balance a sense of fairness with the sentence he imposed.”
Soriano arrived for court Thursday wearing a green, jail-issued smock and pants and with his legs shackled and hands cuffed. The handcuffs were removed as he took his seat beside his defense attorney.
Soriano has been in jail since late October, when Scarano revoked his bail after police alleged Soriano indirectly tried to contact a witness who testified at his trial. Soriano allegedly drove to a school bus stop in front of the witness’ Wilton home and asked women standing there if they were the witness. When they said they weren’t, he asked them to give the witness a message from him thanking her for her testimony. The witness called the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office.
As a court officer restrained him at the end of that October hearing, Soriano shouted, “This has been a witch hunt from the beginning.”
In court Thursday, no one mentioned the outburst, and Soriano didn’t apologize for it.