New arrest in West Side Highway biker assault
Police have made a new arrest in their investigation into the West Side Highway biker assault captured on video.
A law enforcement official said the arrest report is still being written up, but 29-year-old Craig Wright is being charged with gang assault, as well as other charges related to the Sept. 29 vicious beating of an SUV driver who ran over a biker on the West Side Highway.
Wright was using a motorcycle that is registered to his uncle, the official said. Police traced the bike to his uncle by its license plate, which they were able to identify on video from the assault that occurred at West 178th Street.
The official said that in that video, Wright can be seen punching the SUV driver, Alexian Lien, once through the window of his car, and kicking him twice when Lien was laying prone on the ground after a group of bikers had dragged him from the car as his wife and two-year-old daughter watched from inside.
Wright’s uncle told police in an interview today that Wright is the only person who uses that motorcycle, and that Wright had told him he had been at “the motorcycle thing.”
Wright’s uncle was also able to identify his nephew on a video shown to him by police, the official said.
Wright’s uncle is not expected to face any criminal charges.
Police took Wright into custody at his home in the Canarsie neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Wright has two prior arrests on record, one for reckless driving and another for failing to show for a court appearance. He also has three car accident and insurance claims against him from 2005 and 2006.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the first biker charged in this assault, Allen Edwards, who turned himself in shortly after the video of the assault went viral and police put out a request for public assistance tracking down Edwards and another individual seen on the video approaching the SUV. Since then, police interviewed the man whose helmet-cam recorded the majority of the incident, and arrested three more people: Christopher Cruz, 28, the biker who appeared to intentionally slow down in front of Lien’s SUV, kicking off the whole incident; Robert Sims, 35, who police said can be seen on video stomping on Lien’s head while he lay prone on the ground after being pulled from his car; and Reginald Chance, 37, who police said is the person who can be seen on video initially approaching Lien’s car at West 178th Street and smashing the driver’s side window with his helmet before Lien was pulled from the car and brutally beaten while his wife and two-year-old daughter were inside the car. All three were arraigned in Manhattan criminal court this past weekend.
While much attention has been focused on Lien as a victim, famed attorney Gloria Allred appeared in New York City last week to speak on behalf of Edwin Mieses, a biker from Lawrence, Mass. who Lien ran over when he was fleeing from the mob of bikers that first surrounded him on the West Side Highway after he hit what authorities said was Cruz’s bike. Lien’s wife insisted in a statement provided by her lawyers that she and her husband were afraid for their lives when the bikers surrounded them and Lien sped off. But last week, Allred maintained that Mieses had dismounted from his bike to urge other bikers to carry on riding and leave Lien alone. Allred said that to her knowledge, Lien had not honked or given any warning to alert Mieses, whose back was turned to the SUV at the time, to get out of the way.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat