By Chris Francescani
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York SUV driver was trying to protect his family when he ran over and severely injured a motorcyclist on Sunday, sparking a high-speed highway chase that ended with a gang of bikers pulling the man from his car and beating him, the driver's wife said on Thursday.
In an incident that was captured on YouTube and went viral this week, a gang of dozens of motorcyclists chased Alexian Lien's Range Rover along a Manhattan highway following a confrontation between the driver and a group of motorcycle riders.
"We were faced with a life-threatening situation, and my husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family," said Lien's wife, Rosalyn Ng, in a statement released on Thursday.
"We were placed in grave danger by a mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists," said Ng, who was in the car along with her husband and their two-year-old daughter during the chase.
Video of the chase begins with a fender bender between Lien's Range Rover SUV and one of the bikers in the northbound lanes of Manhattan's Henry Hudson Parkway. It escalates when Lien's car, surrounded by motorcyclists, accelerates through the crowd, crushing one rider and sending motorcycles flying.
One motorcyclist has been charged with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment. Authorities are trying to identify more of the bikers from the video and eyewitness accounts.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment on questions about whether Lien could be charged for running over Mieses.
A source in the DA's office told Reuters it is unlikely Lien would be charged, given what investigators know so far. Lien "clearly felt his life was threatened," the source said.
Rider Edwin Mieses, 33, remains in critical condition with a crushed spine, two broken legs and other injuries, his wife Dayana Mieses told NBC News on Thursday.
"There's no hope for his back," Dayana Mieses said of her husband's injuries. "They crushed his spine. They broke it in two different places, so he will be forever, forever paralyzed."
In Thursday's statement, Ng said the couple were confident that "anyone faced with this sort of grave danger would have taken the same course of action in order to protect their family."
(Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)