Images of a suspect who police say was seen bashing in the SUV's window. (credit: NYPD)
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The family of an SUV driver who police said was attacked by a large group of bikers on the Henry Hudson Parkway says they were "faced with a life-threatening situation."
The family of Range Rover driver Alexian Lien issued a statement Thursday via their attorneys.
Lien's wife Rosalyn Ng says they were out to celebrate their wedding anniversary
with their 2-year-old daughter on Sunday when they "were placed in
grave danger by a mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists."
"Our sympathies go out to the injured motorcyclist and his family.
However, we were faced with a life-threatening situation and my husband
was forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in
order to protect the lives of our entire family," the statement said.
"Our fear for our lives was confirmed when the incident ended with the
ruthless and brutal attack on my husband, me, and, most importantly, our
two-year-old child. We know in our hearts that we could not have done
anything differently, and we believe that anyone faced with this sort of
grave danger would have taken the same course of action in order to
protect their family.
"We would like to thank the brave citizens who risked their own
safety to intervene on our behalf. They truly helped save our lives and
prevented my husband from suffering further injury. We also appreciate
and are moved by the outpouring of love and support so many have
expressed here in New York and around the country."
The family asked that the public and the media respect their privacy as Lien continues to recover from his injuries.
The NYPD on Wednesday released new photos of the man they say is seen on YouTube video of the incident violently bashing his helmet against the Range Rover and smashing the windows.
The new photos show the suspect from the back with his helmet on and
another blurry shot of his face. Police said he had a flag sticker of
Guyana on the rear of the motorcycle.
The only person criminally charged in Sunday's encounter between the bikers and the SUV is Christopher Cruz.
The 28-year-old was arraigned Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of
reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment. His license was also
suspended and the judge ordered him to turn over his passport.
Authorities said Cruz touched off what eventually evolved into a bloody confrontation.
Police said Cruz is the biker seen on the video, shot by a
helmet-mounted camera by a fellow rider, initially cutting off the SUV
and braking hard, forcing Lien to rear-end him.
Defense lawyer H. Benjamin Perez denied all the allegations.
"He's going to fight the case, and I'm sure he will be successful," Perez said.
Other bikers then surround the SUV. Police said some of the bikers
began damaging the Range Rover, hitting it with their helmets and
slashing its tires, though it's not clear from the video.
Police said Lien, who was in the vehicle with his family, was
frightened and took off. He allegedly ran over Edwin "Jay" Mieses, a
cyclist from Massachusetts, who has since been hospitalized with critical injuries.
After being chased by the bikers for about two miles, the SUV gets
off the highway around West 178th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue and
gets stuck in traffic, police said.
That's when one of the riders in the video is seen jumping off his
bike and using his helmet to bash in the Range Rover's driver's side
At that point, the video ends, but police said Lien is pulled out of
his car and beaten. He was taken to the hospital where he needed
stitches to his face. His wife and child were unhurt.
Investigators have questioned Lien and are looking to speak to as
many of the bikers as they can. Police have questioned the man who
videotaped the incident. He was not arrested and authorities are still
Perez said Cruz had nothing to do with the attack against Lien. He
said his client called 911 after the initial collision and remained on
One of the men seen on the video pounding on the SUV was Allen
Edwards of Queens. He turned himself in and was initially charged, but
on Wednesday, the Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to
prosecute for now.
"We are taking Sunday's crimes extremely seriously and will proceed
with charges in a manner that enables us to build the strongest cases
possible," Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, chief of the Trial Division that is
handling the case, said in a statement. "Prematurely charging
individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the
Meanwhile, bikers gathered in front of St. Luke's Hospital Wednesday
night to show support for Mieses. They said the video does not show the
whole story and argued that Lien was acting dangerously.
"All bikers are not violent. All bikers are not gang members. All
bikers are not out there starting trouble," said biker Jose, who was not
on the ride.
Mieses' wife, Dayana Mieses, says her husband broke his legs when he
was run over as the SUV fled and suffered spinal injuries that will
leave him paralyzed.
She said the bikers have been wrongly vilified in the incident and
wants Lien to be held responsible for injuring her husband. Lien has not
Police said their investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477, visit CrimeStoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
Video: Pack of bikers pummel SUV driver in NYC
NYC biker Jay Meezee aka Edwin Mieses hospitalized, paralyzed, coma - with pictures
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