NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A motorcyclist accused of touching off a bloody, caught-on-video confrontation between bikers and an SUV driver on the West Side Highway has pleaded guilty to assault and rioting.
Christopher Cruz pleaded guilty Wednesday. He expects a four-month jail sentence.
His lawyer, H. Benjamin Perez, says Cruz “did what he thought was right for him and his family.” A conviction could have meant more time behind bars.
Bikers Allen Edwards and Edwin Rodriguez pleaded guilty earlier. Several others, including an undercover police detective, are heading toward trial.
Prosecutors said the September 2013 encounter began when Cruz deliberately slowed his bike in front of the SUV being driven by Alexian Lien. The SUV then bumped the bike.
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After the collision with Lien, Cruz and other bikers stopped and approached the vehicle, authorities said.
That’s when police said some of the bikers began damaging the SUV, hitting it with their helmets and slashing its tires, though it’s not clear from the video.
Lien said he feared for himself, his wife and their toddler. He hit the gas to get away, running over and seriously injuring motorcyclist Edwin Mieses Jr., of Lawrence, Mass.
After being chased by the bikers for nearly two miles, Lien was pulled out of his car and beaten when he got off the highway around West 178th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, authorities said.
Lien was taken to the hospital after the attack, where he needed stitches to his face. His wife and child were unhurt.
Mieses suffered broken legs and severe spine injuries.
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