A man who drove from the Bay Area with Bryan Stow took the stand in court and described hearing his friend's head hit the pavement after the beating that left Stow with permanent brain damage. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at Noon Tuesday, June 10, 2014.
A man who was with fellow San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow when he was attacked by two home team fans at Dodger Stadium testified Tuesday that his friend was blindsided by a punch that caused him to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement with a ``sickening'' thud.
"It was a crack,'' Corey Maciel said. ``Fist hitting bone, that's the only way I can describe it.''
Maciel said that he, Stow, Alan ``Jeff'' Bradford and Matthew Lee were confronted while walking through parking lot 2 to get a taxi outside the stadium after the opening-day game between the Dodgers and Giants on March 31,2011. All were wearing Giants apparel.
Testifying in Los Angeles Superior Court in trial of Stow's negligence lawsuit against former team owner Frank McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, Maciel said the attack on Stow occurred about five minutes after an initial confrontation during which Dodgers fan Louie Sanchez shoved Stow, causing him to fall against Maciel.
Maciel said he thought the first incident was an isolated confrontation and that he and the others could safely reach their destination without a second faceoff occurring. He said he saw no security officers or police in the area during either skirmish with Sanchez and his friend, Marvin Norwood.
Maciel said he quickly realized the severity of Stow's injuries -- which resulted in permanent brain damage -- after he saw the back of his friend's head bounce off the pavement during the second engagement.
"I heard his head hit the asphalt,'' Maciel said as he struggled to keep his composure. ``It was another sickening crack.''
Maciel said Sanchez repeatedly kicked Stow in the head with ``full wind-up'' kicks after knocking him to the ground. Norwood kicked Stow in the upper body, Maciel added.
Stow's friend testified that Norwood ran toward him in an apparent effort to slow him down as he rushed to Stow's aid. He said although Norwood threw punches, none of them landed.
Maciel said he threw his body over Stow, who was unconscious with his eyes open and blood coming from one ear.
"I was worried for him,'' Maciel said. ``He was obviously in bad shape and I wanted to protect him.''
Maciel said he tried to dissuade Sanchez and Norwood from continuing with their kicking assault on his friend.
"I said, `He's unconscious, what else do you want? Leave him alone,''' Maciel said.
Bradford was briefly knocked to the ground with a punch before the assailant rushed toward Stow, Maciel said.
He said Sanchez shoved Stow about five minutes earlier, after he and another man confronted the Northern California paramedic about a remark he had made after being heckled by Dodgers fans, in which Stow said with a raised voice that he hoped they ``code'' -- a term for cardiac arrest.
Lee told his friends he had been punched in the face by Sanchez, according to Maciel.
During a 911 call, Maciel said he told a dispatcher that an ambulance was needed immediately.
Asked by Stow attorney David Lira how long it took for emergency help to arrive, Maciel replied, ``It felt like forever.''
Maciel said Stow did not say anything or make any gestures toward Sanchez and Norwood to provoke them.
Rialto residents Sanchez, 31, and Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to assaulting Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively.
Defense attorneys say Sanchez, Norwood and Stow are to blame for the attack. They assert Stow was drunk, gestured toward his assailants and made sarcastic remarks. The lawyers also say the combined security force of sworn peace officers and private guards was the largest ever for a Dodger opening-day game.
Lee died of a food allergy just months after Stow was hurt.
Stow, 45, has not been in court for more than a week.