Bikers: SUV driver instigated encounter - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Bikers: SUV driver instigated encounter

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  • Arrests in SUV driver attack by bikers

    Arrests in SUV driver attack by bikers

    Thursday, October 10 2013 3:19 PM EDT2013-10-10 19:19:40 GMT
    Police have arrested two of the bikers involved in the initial incident that lead to the vicious attack of a man driving his family in Manhattan, the NYPD said.
    Police have arrested two of the bikers involved in the initial incident that lead to the vicious attack of a man driving his family in Manhattan, the NYPD said.

JENNIFER PELTZ and TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a dramatic case built on amateur video that went viral — footage of motorcycles swarming around an SUV on a highway, the driver plowing over a biker to escape and a high-speed chase that ends with the driver pulled out and beaten in front of his family.

But as compelling as the footage is, it doesn't answer a key question: What happened before the cameras were turned on?

Nearly two weeks later, some bikers are suggesting SUV driver Alexian Lien, knowingly or not, instigated the confrontation off-camera earlier by clipping one of the bikes in a rally on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan.

Authorities are looking into everything that unfolded along the ride's path from lower to upper Manhattan, including a possibility that a motorcyclist hit the SUV, not the other way around, and broke its side mirror before the encounters on the video, said a law enforcement official, who hadn't been authorized to discuss the inquiry and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Investigators are looking for other helmet-camera videos of the ride, which spurred 911 calls about the bikers' behavior before the SUV driver's beating.

Attorney Gloria Allred, representing Edwin Mieses Jr., the biker who was crushed, claims Lien bumped another motorcycle while changing lanes on the highway 2 to 3 miles before his SUV knocked into biker Christopher Cruz.

"We have evidence that he hit that (first) bike and didn't stop," Allred said by phone.

Mieses, of Lawrence, Mass., didn't see any earlier encounter but got off his motorcycle to defuse the tense situation and was headed back when he was hit from behind by the SUV, she said. He broke his legs and suffered a spine injury and likely is paralyzed, his family has said.

Allred declined to say what other witnesses had contacted her, but another biker who participated in the rally, Louis Castaldo, gave a similar account in an interview on Fox 5 News.

Castaldo said that when bikers tried to approach Lien's Range Rover, Lien "decides to run over three or four people. ... He should have just apologized."

Images made public have painted a narrative that begins with Cruz, of Passaic, N.J., pulling in front of the black Range Rover and decelerating to the point where the vehicle bumps his back tire.

Cruz, since his arrest on reckless endangerment and other charges, has insisted he looked over at the driver only to change lanes and didn't deliberately slow down. He didn't see any prior interaction that may have happened between the SUV and the motorcyclists, said his attorney, H. Benjamin Perez. Cruz waited on the highway for police when other riders chased after Lien, Perez said.

"He's treated as though he orchestrated this entire event," Perez said. "It's crazy."

Authorities have used the video footage to bring charges against Cruz and six other motorcyclists, including an off-duty undercover police detective.

Prosecutors said the detective, Wojciech Braszczok, lied when he said he didn't witness the assault. Video has surfaced showing him punching out the back window, they said. His lawyer says he'll be exonerated.

On Thursday, prosecutors said the latest biker arrested, James Kuehne, had used his helmet to bash Lien as he lay on the ground. Kuehne was released on $200,000 bond after his arraignment on gang assault and other charges. He hasn't entered a plea.

Lien hasn't been charged with a crime and hasn't spoken publicly about the case. His wife, who was in the SUV with him and their 2-year-old child, has blamed the bikers for putting the family in "grave danger."

"We were faced with a life-threatening situation, and my husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family," she said in a statement.

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Jake Pearson contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Search for woman who tried to snatch baby in stroller

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:37:43 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
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    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
  • NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

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    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
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