NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) — The family of the driver involved in a melee with motorcyclists in New York City, is speaking out for the first time.
The family of Range Rover driver Alexian Lien issued a statement Thursday through their attorneys saying they were faced with a “life-threatening situation.”
In a statement obtained by CBS New York, Lien’s wife 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.”
Police say the incident began Sunday when Lien was suddenly surrounded on the West Side Highway in Manhattan by a group of motorcyclists on an annual ride to Times Square.
“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,” Lien’s family said in a statement.
In the video recorded on a biker’s helmet camera and later posted on YouTube, one of the bikers appears to nearly stop in front of the SUV on the highway and the two collided.
Some of the bikers, apparently angry over the collision, began to confront the driver and, at one point, started to slash his tires.
The driver then barreled through three of the bikers to get away.
One of those bikers was Lawrence man Edwin Mieses. His wife, Dayana Mieses, says he had gotten off of his bike to help the injured biker who was hit in the initial collision.
Mieses, currently waking from a coma, is said to be paralyzed.
The Eagle Tribune reported Thursday that Mieses has never had a driver’s license for a motorcycle or anything else.
State records show Mieses’ learner’s permit was revoked in 1999 for a series of driving violations but that hasn’t stopped him from driving – and racking up – numerous violations.
In May, state records show he was arrested in Andover for driving without a license.
The only person criminally charged in Sunday’s encounter is Christopher Cruz.
The 28-year-old was arraigned Wednesday in New York on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment.
His license was also suspended and the judge ordered him to turn over his passport.
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