One of two motorcycle riders arrested in connection with a violent dispute with an SUV driver over the weekend has been let go by police, while another was arraigned Wednesday on charges of reckless endangerment and unlawful imprisonment.
Christopher Cruz, 29, faced a judge in Manhattan criminal court Wednesday.
Prosecutors say Cruz is the biker seen in video last Sunday pulling ahead of and slowing down in front of an SUV that bumped into his bike after the driver found himself in the middle of a crowd of motorcycles that had, in effect, taken over the road. Cruz is accused of deliberately causing the accident.
"The defendant was involved in an incident on the West Side Highway on September 29, 2013 at approximately 2 p.m. in the afternoon where the defendant was traveling northbound on the highway with numerous other motorcycles," said Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino.
When other bikers surrounded the SUV and slashed its tires, driver Alexian Lien took off, hitting several of them.
One was Edwin "Jay" Mieses. His wife says his legs were broken and spinal injuries have left him paralyzed.
Other motorcycles gave chase, ultimately ending in Washington Heights, where one biker smashed the driver's side window with his helmet. Others beat Lien while his wife and young daughter sat terrified in their car.
Cruz's lawyer, H. Benjamin Perez, said he had nothing to do with any violence and he'll fight the charges against him.
"He never left the West Side Highway," Perez said. "His motorcycle was struck, and he stood right there. He never assaulted this man. He never tried to assault him in anyway. And he does not know any of the other motorcyclists who were involved in this beating."
Cruz was released on $1,500 bail and made a fast getaway without answering any questions.
The investigation into the entire incident is still ongoing. For now, there are no charges against Lien.
A second motorcyclist was arrested Tuesday, but he was released without being charged. The DA's office said that prematurely charging anyone is bad for their case and that they are still aggressively investigating.
On Wednesday, police released images of two others sought in connection with the incident.
Police believe the two men were there during the assault that left the driver of an SUV badly beaten and at least one biker severely injured.
Officials are hoping to speak with all of the cyclists who were there at the time.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.