NEW YORK (CNN) — Authorities say they’ve identified and are closer to finding one of the main bikers that played a role in the beating of a New York SUV driver, an act that was captured on tape and sparked national outrage.
The biker being sought is suspected of bashing in the SUV driver’s window, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN late Thursday.
The suspect was not in custody but may soon be, the official said.
The incident took place on Manhattan’s West Side Highway on Sunday. Police said a man driving a Range Rover struck a motorcyclist who had slowed.
Previous reporting indicated that the impact broke the motorcyclist’s leg, but New York police Sgt. Lee Jones said Wednesday that the biker sustained only minor injuries.
Alexian Lien, the driver, pulled over and was surrounded by other bikers, part of a group called Hollywood Stuntz. They hit the vehicle and spiked its tires, police said.
The driver pulled away, plowing into three more bikers, including Edwin Mieses, who was critically injured.
The bikers chased him. Once he was stuck in traffic, they cornered the SUV. The video shows one biker, the one being sought by police, using his helmet to smash the driver’s-side window.
Police said the bikers dragged Lien out of the SUV and beat him. His wife and daughter were unharmed.
Lien was treated at a local hospital for slashes to his face.
Lien’s family released a statement Thursday through its attorneys, saying he was “forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family.”
He and his wife were out to celebrate their wedding anniversary with their daughter when the incident happened, according to the statement.
“We know in our hearts that we could not have done anything differently, and we believe that anyone faced with this sort of grave danger would have taken the same course of action in order to protect their family,” the statement said.
Police have not said that they are seeking any charges against Lien.
But they arrested Christopher Cruz, who is seen slowing in front of the Range Rover before he was bumped.
Cruz, 28, was in court Wednesday on misdemeanor charges including reckless driving. Cruz’s attorney told reporters that his client is not guilty.
Cruz was to be released after posting $1,500 cash bail and a $15,000 insurance bond. In addition, his license was suspended, and he was ordered to surrender his passport.
“His motorcycle was struck, and he stood right there,” Cruz’s attorney H. Benjamin Perez said. “He never assaulted this man. He never tried to assault him in any way. And he does not know any of the other motorcyclists who were involved in this beating.”
A second arrested biker was released Wednesday when authorities determined that he may have been trying to help.
Allen Edwards, 42, originally faced charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and menacing, police said.
And they are seeking other potential suspects.
Mieses’ family says the real victim of the confrontation is the hospitalized biker.
“All of his ribs are fractured. His lungs are so badly bruised that he’s still on a ventilator,” Yolanda Santiago, his mother, told CNN affiliate WCBS.
His wife, Dayana, told CNN affiliate WBZ that Mieses got off his bike to help the SUV driver.
“And whatever he did, he got scared, he peeled off, and he paralyzed my husband on the way,” she said.