Dan Gross: DeMentri, cleared in road-rage incident: I was the victim

Posted: March 23, 2011

"I PAID AN incredible price. I just want my life back," former NBC10 anchor Vince DeMentri said last night, hours after a New York judge cleared him of any wrongdoing in a so-called road-rage incident last May in which he was alleged to have slapped a limo driver in New York.

DeMentri, 47, was found not guilty of attempted assault over a May 18 confrontation with Hurley Senanayake, 55, the driver for the Bahamian ambassador to the United Nations, who said that DeMentri hit him through a partially open window during the argument over a parking space.

New York's WPIX-TV fired DeMentri, who was working as a reporter there, shortly after his arrest in the case. DeMentri said last night he would love to return to WPIX. "My life won't be complete until I have my job back," said DeMentri, adding that if he cannot return there, he would like a job elsewhere. The Franford native has worked in TV news for 23 years. "I didn't do anything wrong and I said that from second one. I became the villain, but I am the victim," he told us last night.

Last week, 10 months after the incident, Senanayake testified that DeMentri called him the N-word during the argument, which DeMentri's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, emphatically denied and which police yesterday testified that Senanayake had never reported.

DeMentri has been living in the area of late with a friend from NBC10.

Denzel speaking to Penn grads

Denzel Washington will speak at the University of Pennsylvania's commencement May 16. The Oscar winner's son Malcolm is a Penn sophomore and formerly played basketball there.

Geator sings with Diamond

That was indeed Jerry Blavat onstage with Neil Diamond and many others singing "Sweet Caroline" during Monday's broadcast of the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction last week at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The Geator helped get Darlene Love inducted, and wrote her biography in the event's program. He was seated with Lloyd Price, who sang "Stagger Lee," down front when Diamond brought them both on stage. Alice Cooper, Dr. John, Leon Russell and Tom Waits were also inductees.

Barkley dunks in

During a break from his NCAA March Madness broadcasting duties on TNT, ex-Sixers star Charles Barkley, wife Maureen and daughter Christiana, a Villanova student, dined Monday at Chops (401 City Ave.) in Bala Cynwyd in a large party that included Daily News editor Larry Platt and Fred Lavner of RetroPhilly.com.

'Dr. 90210' digs designer

Turns out E's "Dr. 90210" is a fan of local designer Priscilla Costa. The Brazilian-born fashion designer just showcased pieces from her spring line at Saturday's High Volume Fashion event in New York, where the reality show's star, Robert Rey, spoke highly of her work to anyone who would listen. The event raised money for the Icla da Silva Foundation, which recruits bone-marrow donors for sick children. Costa will showcase more from her collection April 8 at the Philadelphia International Festival of Arts fashion show at the Kimmel Center. For a sneak peek visit PriscillaCosta.com.

People's Paper people

People's Paper film critic Gary Thompson's declaration that "The Hangover" is "the Citizen Kane of bachelor party movies," is the first quote featured in a new trailer for "The Hangover 2."

* Daily News cartoonist Signe

Wilkinson and Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth discuss their work at 6 tonight at the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent (15 S. 7th). Jonathan Saidel moderates. Tix are $10 at the door; free for Kent members.

* Daily News financial-advice columnist

Harry Gross (no relation to Your Humble Narrator) will be honored April 1 at the Senior Prom 2011, at the Westin Hotel, to support the Senior Law Center's efforts to fight abuse, poverty and homelessness of senior citizens. The event from 6 to 10 p.m. also honors the Blank Rome law firm and Dechert attorney Ethan Fogel. City Managing Director Richard Negrin and lawyer-wife Karen McRory-Negrin are among co-hosts. For tix or info, visit seniorlawcenter.org.

* Jessie Knadler, stepdaughter of

former Daily News features editor Theresa Johnson and daughter of ex-Inquirer copy editor David Knadler, has co-authored with Kelly Geary, "Tart and Sweet," a book of canning and pickling recipes. It's out through Rodale.

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