The wife of the SUV driver beaten in Sunday's bloody motorcycle melee said yesterday that her husband sped away because the couple feared for their lives.
"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," she said in a statement released by the family's attorneys.
Rosalyn Ng, wife of SUV driver Alexian Lien, 33, also expressed sympathy for injured motorcyclist Edward Mieses Jr., 32, of Massachusetts, whose family said he was paralyzed after being run over by Lien.
"Our plan last Sunday was to celebrate our wedding anniversary by having a nice family day with our two-year-old daughter," she said. "Unfortunately, instead we were placed in grave danger by a mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists."
The statement, released through the Garden City law firm of Massimo & Panetta, P.C., appeared designed to lay the groundwork for a defense if Lien should face criminal charges or was sued by the bikers. The firm declined to comment further.
Lien has not been charged, but one Passaic, N.J., man faces misdemeanor charges stemming from the confrontation. That man has been accused of deliberately slowing his motorcycle in front of Lien's black Range Rover on the Henry Hudson Parkway. About six minutes of the incident were captured on a helmet camera worn by one of the bikers.
NYPD investigators seek to question at least one man whose image was captured on the video. A law enforcement official said police had visited the home of a biker on Long Island two days ago, seeking the video.
Another biker, Allen Edwards, 42, of Queens, was questioned in connection with the incident but was released after the Manhattan district attorney's office declined for the moment to press charges.
During a radio interview on 1010 WINS Thursday, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio condemned the "phenomenon" of motorcyclists shutting down streets to do stunts. "This confrontation is a byproduct of that, so we have to crack down on that."
"Right now, the police need to be tougher on this situation," de Blasio said.
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota told CBS 2 the increase in biker gangs is a major concern. "They are very, very aggressive. There's no place for that in the city," he said.
The NYPD said Thursday that, through Oct. 3, they have issued 5,498 summonses to motorcycle operators and seized 1,440 motorcycles, quad and dirt bikes -- including 57 vehicles on Sunday, Sept. 29 -- citywide. Patrol personnel have made 437 arrests, including 187 for reckless endangerment or reckless driving.