Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Suspect arraigned in motorcycle-SUV brawl in NYC

NEW YORK — A motorcyclist was charged Wednesday with reckless driving after prosecutors said he touched off a tense encounter with the driver of an SUV and a throng of other bikers that ended with blood and broken bones on a Manhattan street.

Christopher Cruz, 28, of Passaic, N.J., was also charged with unlawful imprisonment. His bail was set at $1,500 cash. His attorney, H. Benjamin Perez, said his client denied all the allegations.

"He will come back to fight this case and clear his name," he said.

Cruz is the only person charged criminally so far in the Sunday encounter that was caught on a helmet-mounted camera worn by another biker and was posted online anonymously.

The Manhattan district attorney's office decided not to immediately prosecute a second person arrested, Allen Edwards, 42, who surrendered to police on Tuesday. But prosecutors said the investigation continues, and they served notice that they intend to take the case against Cruz to a grand jury — a sign that more serious charges are likely.

Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, the prosecutor overseeing the case, said authorities were trying to build the strongest cases possible.

"Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation, and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes," she said.

Prosecutors and police said Cruz was participating in a motorcycle rally speeding along Manhattan's West Side Highway. Cruz cut in front of a black Range Rover and, still staring at its driver, slowed down so much that the rear tire of his chopper bumped the front of the SUV, they said. He got off and approached the SUV, prosecutors said.

Video captured the moment as about two dozen riders slowed down, swarming the SUV and blocking its path. Some dismounted and approached the vehicle. Police said some of the bikers then began damaging the Range Rover.

The SUV driver, who police say was frightened for his family in the car, suddenly lurched forward, plowing over another rider before heading north. The cyclists gave chase, pursuing the driver for about 2.5 miles.

The chase ended when the SUV exited the highway and got stuck in street traffic. The video showed one biker smashing the driver's window with his helmet. Police said the group then pulled the man from the SUV and beat him, although that part isn't shown on the video. The police department confirmed that the video is authentic.

The SUV driver, Alexian Lien, 33, was taken to a hospital where he needed stitches for his face. His wife and 2-year-old were not injured. A call to his home wasn't returned Wednesday.

Cruz's attorney said his client wasn't involved in the beating. Cruz has previous arrests in New Jersey, including a theft case in which he pleaded guilty, according to Manhattan prosecutors.

"The bottom line is that my client had nothing to do with what happened to this gentleman, and he does not know the people who, you know, beat this gentleman up on 174th Street," Perez said. "He never left the location of the accident, and he at no time ever assaulted this man — or his vehicle, for that matter."

The biker who was struck as the SUV fled, Edwin Mieses Jr., remained hospitalized Wednesday. His legs were broken and he has spine injuries that will leave him paralyzed, his wife said. She said her husband, who goes by Jay, is the victim, not the driver of the SUV. At least one other biker was injured.

"Everyone wants to blame the bikers for something this man did," Dayana Mieses said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the motorcyclists were participating in a periodic rally in which more than 1,000 bikers head for Times Square. He said police were caught by surprise by the unpermitted event last year but were aware it was taking place this year and "did a fair amount of enforcement" to break up the procession.

There were 15 other arrests and 55 motorcycles confiscated, Kelly said.

Comments
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man wearing nothing but a coat stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee before dawn Sunday and shot four people to death, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting a weapon away from t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

After a two-hour weather delay Saturday evening at USF, the remote local threat of lightning finally dissipated.The postseason intensity never did.For the second consecutive night, the UCF-USF baseball series delivered, this time with the Bulls (25-1...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by the how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of ...
Published: 04/22/18
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Manaea watched as Marcus Semien fired a ball from short to second baseman Jed Lowrie, turned around, and jumped into the arms of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. History was made at the Coliseum.Manaea no-hit the Red Sox on ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18