Two bikers charged over beating of driver in NY chase incident
Video shows motorcyclist slowing in front of SUV ahead of crashes, chase and beating
A still taken from video shows a biker slowing in front of an SUV on the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York ahead of a series of collisions. Photograph: Youtube
Two motorcyclists have been charged in New York in relation to a confrontation ensuing from a series of collisions involving a pack of bikers and an SUV which saw one biker being run over.
Video of the episode, seen on screens across the US, shows a Range Rover colliding with one of scores of motorcycles that had commandeered the Henry Hudson Parkway. A confrontation ensues, then another crash - and finally a chase that ends with the SUV driver being attacked as his wife and toddler sit helplessly.
But the crispness of the helmet-camera images, captured by a rider in the pack of motorcyclists, gave way yesterday to a painstaking effort by investigators to piece together a frantic sequence of events that stretched over many minutes and several miles and that involved dozens of suspects and witnesses.
The police said they had charged two motorcyclists; one of them had turned himself in. A third rider was hospitalised, according to a family representative, who said the man’s legs had been broken when the Range Rover plowed into the crowd of motorcyclists gathered around one who had been knocked to the ground in the initial collision.
The 33-year-old man who was driving the Range Rover, Alexian Lien, was staying out of sight Tuesday, even as his confrontation with the motorcyclists became national news and had authorities raising concerns about motorcycle groups that try to take over roads for impromptu races and stunts. Detectives were looking into the possibility that the motorcyclists involved in Sunday’s episode had been trying to clear cars from the parkway - in an effort to perform tricks and ride unencumbered - when they encountered the Range Rover. The video appears to show motorcyclists at entrance ramps, possibly in an effort to block oncoming vehicles.
Such tactics are not uncommon among large groups of motorcyclists in and around New York, the authorities said. “We see an increase in the number of groups who will take over the entire highway for the purpose of slowing it down to allow others to race in front of them,” said Maj Michael Kopy of the New York State Police.
The New York City police commissioner, Raymond W Kelly, said hundreds of motorcyclists had descended on city streets on Sunday for a planned but unsanctioned event loosely organised by a riders’ group called Hollywood Stuntz.
“We had over 200 calls just on Sunday about this particular group operating in a reckless manner,” Mr Kelly said.
In interviews, motorcyclists in the group said that as they reached the Henry Hudson Parkway, there were many cars on the road. But as drivers slowed and pulled to the right to let the motorcyclists pass, the Range Rover remained in the centre lane, the video appears to show.
The first crash occurred as a rider slowed to a near-stop in front of the SUV. The video does not clearly depict the actions of the motorcyclists at that point. But the police said the driver of the SUV, quite likely feared for his safety as he sat in the vehicle with his wife and 2-year-old daughter - his car stopped and surrounded. One of the riders smashed the Range Rover’s driver side mirror, the police said.