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Biker may be paralyzed after being struck by panicked motorist; should driver be charged?

Posted Oct 2, 2013 8:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Two bikers have been charged in a confrontation with an SUV driver who apparently panicked after being swarmed by stunt motorcycle riders in New York who damaged his car.

The SUV driver sped away and hit another biker, Edwin Mieses Jr., who is now “forever, forever paralyzed,” his wife told reporters on Tuesday. She said her husband was helping a friend in the motorcycle group, called the Hollywood Stuntz, the Associated Press reports.

The SUV driver, identified as 33-year-old Alexian Lien, was in his Range Rover with his wife and 2-year-old child when he was surrounded by the motorcyclists, report AP, the New York Times, the New York Daily News and CNN. Police are investigating whether the bikers were trying to clear the Henry Hudson Parkway to perform stunts. The events were captured on helmet cams and have been posted to YouTube.

One biker slowed to a near stop in front of Lien’s Range Rover, and Lien accidentally bumped the motorcycle, police said. The bikers then surrounded the SUV and some of them began damaging the vehicle. New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the drivers dented Lien’s car and apparently slashed his tires, according to the NBC account. The New York Times, however, reports that the bikers damaged Lien’s side mirror and does not mention slashed tires.

The SUV then sped away, hitting Mieses.

Some of the bikers caught up with Lien, pulled him from the vehicle and beat him. He received stitches and was released from the hospital.

The biker who slowed in front of the Range Rover suffered minor injuries, police said. He was identified as Christopher Cruz of Passaic, N.J. and was charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and menacing.

Another biker, Allen Edwards of Jamaica, Queens, was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and menacing after turning himself in. He is seen on the video pounding the SUV with his hands, the Times says. However a subsequent story in the New York Times reports that prosecutors won't pursue charges against Edwards.

Lien is director of the e-commerce firm Skrill.com; he and his wife were celebrating their first wedding anniversary on Sunday, the New York Daily News says.

Kelly was asked whether Lien was within his legal rights to leave the scene of an accident, according to the NBC report. "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 are in the car. You have to look at the totality of the circumstances and that’s what we’re doing.” The investigation is continuing.

Updated on Oct. 3 to report that prosecutors won't pursue charges against Edwards.

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