Suspect arraigned in motorcycle-SUV brawl in NYC

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NEW YORK (AP) Prosecutors say a motorcyclist on a New York City highway touched off an encounter with the driver of an SUV that ended with injuries and blood.

Christopher Cruz of Passaic, N.J., was charged Wednesday with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment. His bail was set at $1,500 cash.

His attorney says Cruz denies the allegations.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office says it decided not to prosecutor Allen Edwards of Queens, a second motorcyclist taken into custody Tuesday.

An Internet video shows a swarm of bikers surrounding the SUV Sunday. The SUV driver took off, plowing through the crowd. Police say the bikers chased him, ambushed his car and attacked him.

The driver needed stitches. His wife and toddler were in the car but weren’t injured. At least two bikers were injured.

One biker suffered broken legs and apparent spine injuries when the SUV ran over him and may be paralyzed, police said. A second biker suffered a leg injury. The driver, who was traveling with his wife and toddler, needed stitches to his face at a hospital.

The wife of biker Edwin Mieses, Jr., who was run over by the SUV, told reporters outside Roosevelt-St. Luke’s Hospital that her husband was likely paralyzed.

“There’s no hope for his back,” Dayana Mieses said. “They crushed his spine, they broke it in two different places, so he will be forever, forever paralyzed.”

She said she wanted people to know the driver wasn’t the only victim. “Everyone wants to blame the bikers for something this man did,” she said.

The driver of the SUV, Alexian Lien, 33, has not been charged, officials said. But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday they were still investigating the incident. His wife and 2-year-old child were not injured.

“Well, it depends on what the circumstances are,” Kelly said. “It depends on whether or not your vehicle is being attacked, whether or not you think you’re being attacked, whether or not your wife and child’s in the car. You have to look at the totality of the circumstances, and that’s what we’re doing.”

On Tuesday, police arrested the biker who they say was involved in the initial accident. Christopher Cruz was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, endangering the welfare of a child and menacing. Cruz, who was uninjured, was in custody awaiting arraignment Tuesday and hadn’t been assigned a lawyer. A woman who answered a phone at a number connected with Cruz’s address said she didn’t speak English and hung up.

A second suspect surrendered to police on Tuesday, but was not immediately charged, and his name wasn’t released.

Police distributed an image of two bikers they said were involved in the chase and said they were wanted for assault.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the motorcyclists were participating in a periodic rally in which well over 1,000 bikers head for Times Square. He said police were caught by surprise by the unpermitted event last year but this year were aware it was taking place and “did a fair amount of enforcement” to break up the processions.

There were 15 arrests and 55 motorcycles confiscated, he said.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

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