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Suspect in Kent County road rage assault appears in court

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Posted at 4:47 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 11:17:13-05

WALKER, Mich. — A man charged in connection with a road rage incident that left a woman with a traumatic brain injury appeared in court Tuesday.

Eric Alvarez is accused of slamming Samantha Sutherlin to the ground earlier this month after a crash in the parking lot of a Starbucks on Alpine Avenue. When police arrived, they say they found Sutherlin unconscious and tracked Alvarez down and arrested him with help from witnesses.

He is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and failing to stop after a crash.

After the brief hearing Tuesday, defense attorney John Beason said there are two sides to the story.

“I can’t describe that to you, but it`s been in the news, but I think inaccurately and the news. Portraying my client as the bad one and I think that he wasn`t necessarily the only bad one,” he said. “My client is very remorseful that this even happened. There’s two families here. There’s really no winners in this whole thing.”

Sutherlin’s family said Tuesday she is making progress in her recovery after brain surgery. She is moving one of her legs, hands and opening her eyes.

Alvarez is being held on a $500,000 bond and will be back in court next month.