NEW YORK (WABC) --
A motorcyclist has been arraigned on charges of reckless driving after
prosecutors said he touched off a tense encounter with the driver of an
SUV and a throng of other bikers that ended in a violent confrontation
Christopher Cruz, 28, of Passaic, N.J., was also charged with
unlawful imprisonment. His bail was set at $1,500 cash. His attorney,
H. Benjamin Perez, said his client denied all the allegations.
"He will come back to fight this case and clear his name," he said.
A second suspect, Allen Edwards, 42, of Jamaica, Queens, surrendered
to police at the 33rd Precinct Tuesday night. It is believed he is the
man who punched the rear window of the SUV with his fists at the end of
He had been held and questioned overnight, and
police initially said he would be charged with reckless endangerment,
criminal mischief and menacing. But the office declined to prosecute at
this time, pending further investigation of the entire incident.
Prosecutors served notice that they intend to take the case against
Cruz to a grand jury - a sign that more serious charges are likely.
Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, the prosecutor overseeing the case, said
authorities were trying to build the strongest cases possible.
"Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not
further the goals of the investigation, and could weaken the cases we
expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes," she said.
Cruz is believed to be the motorcyclist who cut off the Range Rover
before he was rear-ended in the crash that started the incident.
The SUV driver, Alexian Lien, 33, bowled over the bikers and their
motorcycles after the initial accidet. While the rest of the group gave
chase, one of them recorded the incident. The next stop was by the
George Washington Bridge ramp, where one biker ripped open the car door,
forcing Lien to flee again.
Eventually, the heart
stopping chase ended up on 178th Street, where the Range Rover became
trapped by traffic with the raging bikers right behind him. The video
shows the bikers smashing in the windows, but stops short of the brutal
assault that followed.
According to police, Lien was
dragged out of the car and beaten in front of his horrified family. He
was taken to a hospital where he needed stitches for his face. His wife
and 2-year-old were not injured.
Meanwhile, the mother
and wife of another biker left paralyzed are speaking out. Edwin
Mieses, 32, suffered broken legs, rib fractures and spine injuries and
"All his ribs, fractured," mom Yolanda Santiago said. "His lungs are so badly bruised."
Wife Dayana Mieses says her husband was only trying to help the fellow biker who was injured in the initial fender bender.
"Being bent over, helping this guy, is why he got crushed," Dayana
Mieses said. ""His aortic valve detached from his heart when the
accident happened. Eight out of 10 people don't survive that...but he
did. He's a survivor. He's paralyzed from the waist down. His spine was
broken in two different places, and there's no hope for that as well."
Mieses said she understands the family in the SUV was scared, but she doesn't believe they were in any danger.
"What they don't know about the bike life is that they're a family,
they're not out there to hurt people," she said. "My husband has a heart
of gold. He stopped to help the man get up because that's all they do
for each other, help each other."
Still, she feels her husband is the victim in this case.
"If he would have stopped after he initially hit that one person and
noticed people were trying to help, there was no need for him to take
off," she said. "For them to follow him and try to yank him out there
car, to take off again and keep on driving and get beat up. If he would
have stopped the first time, he would have know they were there to help
[Cruz], Because that's what people do. They help each other. Bikers
aren't a gang. They're not in a gang."
She says blame lies with Lien, who she says profiled the bikers.
"He's not even charged, and he's the victim," she said. "How is he the
victim, because he can walk? How is he the victim, because he can walk
his daughter down the aisle. My husband can't do any of that anymore. So
I blame him, and he needs to come forward. Because he has a lot of
bills to pay. Because for the rest of my life and my husband's life,
we're going to be paying bills that, on a job I have, I will not be able
to make on my own."
Police are still searching for
the man who used his helmet to bash the front window of the SUV.
Authorities released a photo of the man, who has a flag sticker of
"Guyana" on the rear of the motorcycle.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).