Charges dropped against 1 of 2 men in biker case
NEW YORK (CNN) — Prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against Allen Edwards, 42, one of two men arrested in connection with an attack over the weekend on an SUV driver who was swarmed by bikers on a New York City street.
“We are taking Sunday’s crimes extremely seriously, and will proceed with charges in a manner that enables us to build the strongest cases possible,” said Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, chief of the trial division, who is overseeing the case.
“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 in a statement. “After we investigate the facts and each person’s individual actions, we will know what charges can be supported by the evidence. There is still a tremendous amount of investigation to be done.”
Edwards had originally faced charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and menacing, the New York City Police Department said.
The incident involving motorcyclists went viral after a video of the incident surfaced online.
A helmet camera one of the bikers was wearing captured much of the incident, including when a biker walks up to the SUV and smashes a window with a helmet.
Police said the incident began when a man driving his wife and 2-year-old daughter in a Range Rover struck a motorcyclist riding with a large group of fellow bikers on Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
The biker who was struck by the SUV, 28-year-old Christopher Cruz, was later arrested and faces charges that include reckless endangerment, reckless driving and endangering the welfare of a child, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday.
He was to be released after posting $1,500 cash bail and a $15,000 insurance bond. In addition, his license was suspendedand he was ordered to surrender his passport.
After hitting the biker, the SUV driver pulled overand the motorcyclists surrounded his vehicle, hitting it and spiking the tires, police said. The driver then pulled away, hitting three more bikers in the process, police said.
One of those hit, Edwin Mieses, 32, is paralyzed and in a coma, his family told CNN affiliate WBZ.
“All of his ribs are fractured,” Mieses’ mother, Yolanda Santiago, told WBZ, “his lungs are so badly bruised that he’s still on a ventilator.”
Mieses’ wife, Dayana, told CNN affiliate WCBS that her husband had gotten off his bike to help Cruz, but was hit by the SUV driver as he drove off.
The hospital where Mieses was being treated did not respond to CNN inquiries about his condition.
Police said the biker group, called “Hollywood Stuntz,” chased the driver, whose flat tires forced him to stop.
Cornered, the SUV driver was beaten, according to police. He was later treated at a hospital for slashes to his face and released. Neither his wife nor his child was hurt.
“I don’t condone the violence, there’s no need for it,” Mieses’ sister Margie Mejia told WBZ, but “I’m glad they chased him down and they stopped him.”
Police say the same group of bikers descended on New York City and clogged Times Square last year in what Kelly said was a “major stunt event.”
Authorities say they prevented the group from entering Times Square this year. Police arrested 15 bikers Sunday, seized 55 bikes and wrote 68 summons for various violations.
They are looking at video to try to determine whether any other charges will be filed in the incident.
On whether it was legal for the SUV driver to leave the scene after hitting the first motorcyclist, Kelly said Tuesday that “you have to look at the totality of the circumstances and that’s what we’re doing.”
“The investigation is ongoing,” Kelly said.
The SUV driver has not been charged.
“It’s not going to bring my son’s legs back, because it’s not going to make him walk again,” Mieses’ mother said, “But justice has to be served.”
By Ross Levitt. Susan Candiotti and Rande Iaboni
CNN’s Elizabeth Landers and Lawrence Crook III contributed to this report.