October 11, 2013

Fourth biker arrested in Manhattan road-rage assault case

The driver of the SUV that ran over and seriously injured one of the bikers has not been charged, even though some of the motorcycle riders say he sparked the violence.

By Tina Susman
Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK — A fourth man has been arrested in connection with a Manhattan road-rage attack involving motorcyclists and an SUV driver that was caught on video.

click image to enlarge

The Range Rover involved in the bikers attack is being moved from the police precinct for further police investigation on Oct. 5, 2013, in New York.

The Associated Press

As questions swirl about whether some New York cops witnessed the violence but did not intervene, police announced the arrest Monday night of Craig Wright, 29, of Brooklyn, on charges of gang assault, assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Wright was expected to be arraigned Tuesday. At least three other motorcyclists have been charged so far in the Sept. 29 incident.

The driver of the SUV that ran over and seriously injured one of the bikers has not been charged, even though some of the hundreds of motorcycle riders who were in the pack that pursued him up New York City’s West Side Highway say he sparked the violence.

The local TV program “Good Day New York” on Tuesday aired an interview with one of the bikers, Louis Castaldo, who said the video of the incident seen by millions of people does not tell the whole story. He said that before the situation escalated into violence, the Range Rover driver, Alexian Lien, 33, had hit a rider as the group cruised in unison up the busy road.

“When the video starts, we’re trying to attempt to slow him down to tell him, ‘Hey, there was an incident back there,’ “ Castaldo said. “As we’re approaching the window to talk to him and explain what just happened ... he then decides to run over three or four more people, which is when things escalated.”

Lien drove off, leaving at least one motorcyclist, Edwin Mieses Jr., 33, seriously injured. His wife has said that Mieses may be paralyzed.

Other riders chased after Lien, catching up with him in upper Manhattan, using their helmets to bash the SUV’s windows, and eventually dragging Lien from the vehicle and beating him. Lien’s wife and toddler were also in the car but were not injured.

The New York Post reported Tuesday that an off-duty police officer was among the motorcyclists who pursued the SUV and witnessed the beating. The unidentified officer’s lawyer has said his client did not see the attack or what was going on at the front of the riders’ pack.

The officer has not been arrested but has had his gun and badge confiscated while the incident is investigated.

Castaldo said he did not condone the violence but said Lien should have stopped after the first incident. “If he’d just apologized and stopped and said ‘I’m sorry,’ we would have probably forgiven him,” he told “Good Day New York.”

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