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Driver rejects plea offer in speedy lap around Manhattan seen in online video

BMW is recalling nearly 17,000 cars in Canada as part of a worldwide recall of 1.3 million vehicles. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A Canadian driver facing criminal charges over a 24-minute lap around Manhattan told police he was a “car fanatic” who wanted to break unofficial records for circling the island, but he said the viral video of the stunt was sped up, making it appear he was driving faster than he was, court documents released Tuesday show.

Adam Tang, 32, pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment, rejecting a plea offer of two months in jail.

Tang was arrested after a dashboard-camera video showed a BMW Z4 sports car making a 42-kilometre loop around Manhattan in 24 minutes and 7 seconds. The six-minute clip drew hundreds of thousands of online views.

The YouTube video below shows a BMW Z4 racing around Manhattan:

Tang said he sped up the “kind of boring” original footage to fit it to music, according to a police account of his statements after his Sept. 5 arrest.

“I believe that I did the run safely. I drove at a high rate of speed, but I was not driving recklessly,” Tang said, according to the documents. “I am a car fanatic … I put a lot of esteem into driving.”

Tang claimed he never went over 160 kilometres per hour and ran only one red light, according to the criminal complaint.

The video shows the car zooming close to other cars’ bumpers and making other risky manoeuvres, a criminal court complaint notes.

Tang acknowledged seeing other drivers hit their brakes when they saw him coming, but he said he stopped for several red lights and never cut off any other motorists, according to the account of his statements.

“I drive fast all the time,” Tang told authorities, adding that he started driving at age 12 and took a variety of driving courses. He said he’d done the Manhattan loop before at the same speed, just without a camera.

Tang’s lawyer, Gregory Gomez, said there was no proof Tang acted recklessly. A Canadian citizen married to an American woman, Tang wants to avoid acquiring any criminal record because of possible immigration complications, Gomez said.

Tang’s license has been suspended since his arrest. Gomez sought Tuesday to get it reinstated, but the judge declined.