Dayana Mejia, partner of motorcyclist Edwin Mieses Jr., listens as attorney… (Andrew Burton / Getty Images )
The motorcyclist who was severely injured Sunday during a confrontation on Manhattan's West Side Highway is a devoted family man who was trying to defuse the situation, his family and lawyer said Friday.
Edwin Mieses Jr., 32, sustained back and leg injuries when an SUV ran over him after a group of motorcyclists surrounded the black Range Rover. The vehicle's driver fled, and the motorist was later beaten by other bikers.
One person has been charged in the incident, which is being examined by a Manhattan grand jury.
At a news conference in New York, Dayana Mejia cried and said Mieses is an adoring father to the couple's two children. Mejia has been identified as his wife but at the news conference called Mieses a partner.
“Edwin is as devoted a family man as they come. He has been a wonderful, loving partner to me for almost 17 years. He is an adoring and caring father to our two children. Until he was run over by this SUV, he has been there for our two children every single day – literally. Edwin picks our children up from school every day. He spends the afternoon with them every day. He takes them to their activities. He helps them with their homework. He goes to their parent-teacher conferences at school. He is the best father I know,” she said.
Christopher Cruz, the only person to be charged in the incident, briefly made a return appearance in court Friday. It had been expected that the grand jury would report on Friday, but prosecutors said further action would be delayed until Oct. 24 to allow more time for investigation. Cruz, of Passaic, N.J., is charged with reckless driving and misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment.
The video of the Sunday incident, shot by one of the motorcyclists, has gone viral on the Internet.
According to the video, the SUV driven by Alexian Lien was traveling on the West Side Highway when the motorcyclists passed. One motorcyclist in the center lane slowed down and made contact with the SUV. That motorcycle driver was later identified as Cruz, 28.
After the contact between Cruz's bike and the SUV, the video shows that the Range Rover accelerated and hit another biker, Mieses. The Range Rover the sped along the highway, chased by the group of motorcyclists. Lien left the highway and went onto a street, where he stopped at a red light. Motorcyclists at that point jumped off their bikes and rushed the SUV, the video shows. At least one used his helmet to smash the driver’s window on the SUV, and another pounded on another window. Lien was eventually taken from the SUV and beaten, police say.
At the news conference, the family’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, a noted activist who has represented a number of victims in high-profile cases, said that Mieses was trying to ease the situation.
“Most importantly, Edwin is a human being and he has a heart. He had no malice or ill intentions towards Mr. Lien or his family whatsoever. When he saw Mr. Lien’s Range Rover stopped on the road. He pulled his bike over to the side, and walked over to where the accident had occurred to see what had happened and then tried to encourage people to move and keep riding.”
Allred said she was not justifying the beating of Lien, but that had nothing to do with Mieses.
“Edwin Mieses and his family deplore what happened to the driver of the SUV,” Allred said.
“However, let us not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Mieses had done nothing to Mr. Lien,” she added. “We don't think our client should have been run over and crushed.”
Allred said the family had not decided whether to sue.
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