Biker accused of causing West Side Highway assault appears in court
The biker accused of causing the violent assault between an SUV driver and a mob of motorcyclists appeared in Manhattan criminal court this morning, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.
Christopher Cruz was arrested Oct. 1 and charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, menacing and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors are also charging him with unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and reckless driving.
Authorities say Cruz was the biker who could be seen on video veering in front of the black SUV driven by Alexian Lien. In the video, that biker appears to intentionally slow down while looking behind him at Lien, causing Lien to hit his bike.
Cruz has admitted to being the biker who slowed down and made contact with the SUV, according to prosecutors.
Lien stopped, but when a group of bikers dismounted and started to surround his SUV, he took off, running over at least one biker. That man, Edwin Mieses, is still hospitalized at St. Luke’s in Harlem.
The bikers chased Lien off the highway, and when he stopped two bikers approached his SUV. One used his helmet to bash in the driver’s side window. Police said that Lien was then dragged out of the SUV and badly beaten by a mob of bikers, though that assault was not captured on video.
Prosecutors requested Cruz’s driver’s license be suspended and passport seized, and asked for bail to be set at $1,500 cash and $15,000 bond. But Cruz’s attorney apparently told the judge that Cruz’s passport is lost. Cruz gave sworn testimony to that effect and was ordered to file paperwork with the State Department canceling the passport, and provide the court with evidence that he had one so.
The criminal complaint against Cruz noted that the speed limit at that part of the West Side Highway is 45 miles per hour.
Cruz’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. The DA’s office said that Cruz’s next court appearance will be on Oct. 24.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat