Driver convicted of reckless endangerment in speedy lap around NYC, seen in online video

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NEW YORK — A driver who whizzed across 26 miles of New York City in 24 minutes was convicted Thursday of reckless endangerment for a stunt trumpeted in dashboard-camera video posted online.

But Adam Tang wasn't in court to hear the verdict, and it wasn't clear where he was instead: The Canadian citizen was deemed a fugitive after failing to show up for court Wednesday.

Prosecutors portrayed Tang, 31, as a dangerous daredevil who put lives at risk by circling Manhattan in a BMW Z4 convertible at an average of 69 mph, sometimes hitting nearly 100 mph, and flaunted it in a YouTube video that has drawn more than 875,000 views.

"The city's roadways are not a racetrack," District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.

But defense lawyer Gregory Gomez suggested that while Tang might have pushed the envelope on traffic regulations, he didn't commit a crime.

Gomez said Thursday he respected the verdict and would focus now on getting Tang to court, arguing for "an appropriate sentence" and determining whether to appeal.

Tang faces up to a year in jail for his misdemeanor conviction. His sentencing is set for Dec. 8.

Tang — known to the YouTube world as "AfroDuck" — was arrested in September 2013, after the video appeared and police traced him through his computer's Internet address.

"I am a car fanatic," Tang told officers when they arrived, according to a prosecution court filing.

The stock trader said he'd wanted to break unofficial speed records for looping Manhattan, but he insisted he didn't do it recklessly, the document said.

"I put a lot of esteem into driving and being a conscious and aware driver," he said.

The nighttime footage captured a car zooming along highways and streets that ring Manhattan, weaving around other cars as brake lights flash at its approach, but also stopping for six red lights.

In March, Tang rejected a plea offer that would have entailed two months in jail. His lawyer said then that Tang, married to an American woman, wanted to avoid any criminal record because of possible immigration complications.

Tang was arrested again in April, after police said they found him driving in the Bronx although his license had been suspended because of his earlier arrest. He pleaded guilty to unlicensed driving, a traffic infraction, and paid a fine, Gomez said then.


Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.

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