A motorcyclist accused of touching off what evolved into a bloody confrontation between an SUV driver and a throng of bikers was charged Wednesday with reckless driving while investigators searched for key players in the driver’s beating.
Investigators and prosecutors, who held off charging another person, faced the task of trying to track down and talk to dozens of helmet-clad motorcyclists seen in an online video of the encounter.
The confrontation spiraled from a minor collision between a motorbike and the SUV into the car plowing over a biker and fellow riders surrounding, chasing and attacking the driver, authorities said.
The only person criminally charged in Sunday’s encounter is Christopher Cruz, who was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment. Police and prosecutors said Cruz, of Passaic, N.J., was the biker who initially cut off the SUV, which then bumped his motorcycle’s back tire.
Defense lawyer H. Benjamin Perez said Cruz didn’t try to trap or assault the driver and denied all the allegations.
The SUV driver, Alexian Lien, was taken to a hospital for stitches for his face. A call to his home wasn’t returned Wednesday.
Cruz’s attorney said his client wasn’t involved in beating Lien or attacking his car, didn’t know anyone who was involved and was simply trying to exchange driver information when he got off his motorcycle after it was hit.
The biker who was run over as the SUV fled, Edwin Mieses Jr., broke his legs and suffered spinal injuries that will leave him paralyzed, said his wife, Dayana Mieses.