(NEW YORK) — The wife of the SUV driver attacked by motorcyclists in New York City said Thursday that her family was “faced with a life-threatening situation” — for the first time offering a version of the now-infamous melee from inside the vehicle.
Rosalyn Ng said her husband was trying to protect her and their child when he fled from the bikers at high speeds, hitting and critically injuring one.
“Our plan last Sunday was to celebrate our wedding anniversary by having a nice family day out with our 2-year-old daughter,” Ng said in a statement released Thursday through the couple’s attorneys. “Unfortunately, instead, we were placed in grave danger by a mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists.”
The couple’s fear was evident in Ng’s 911 call from inside the Range Rover, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner John McCarthy, who said that the tenor and number of her calls proved how “terrified” they were in the face of the group of bikers.
Ng placed four calls from inside the Range Rover in a span of nine minutes, ending as ambulances and police finally arrived at the site where Lien was assaulted by motorcyclists. Police received other 911 calls about the incident as well, but would not say who made the calls.
Ng said in her statement that bystanders intervened and helped to stop the assault when the bikers, angry over the confrontation, attacked her husband, Alexian Lien, 33. Six minutes of the confrontation was captured on video taken by a motorcyclist’s helmet camera and uploaded to the Internet.
Ng and Lien released their statement Thursday morning as police continue to hunt for suspects involved in the assault.
Late Wednesday, police searched the home of 37-year-old Kevin Bresloff, who they believe wore the helmet camera that filmed six minutes of the conflict. They recovered a GoPro helmet cam, two laptop computers, a cell phone and a digital camera and are searching the video for clues about anything that was not posted online, police said.
One motorcyclist accused of starting the confrontation was charged in Manhattan court earlier Wednesday and released on bail.
The conflict started Sunday afternoon on the West Side Highway of Manhattan, where Lien was driving a Range Rover with Ng and their 2-year-old child as part of a wedding anniversary celebration, Ng said.
A group of 20 to 30 motorcyclists, out for an annual ride in the city, surrounded the Range Rover in order to try and block off the road so they could do tricks, police said.
Christopher Cruz, one of the bikers, cut the SUV off and then slowed down, leading the Range Rover to bump into his motorcycle, according to police. The other bikers then slowed their speed and began looking back at the Range Rover.
Cruz, 28, of Passaic, N.J., was charged with reckless driving and false imprisonment for not allowing the Range Rover to move about on the highway.
In response to being surrounded by the motorcyclists, Lien then sped off, accelerating his Range Rover through the crowd of motorcyclists and hitting some as he took off, police said. One motorcyclist, Edwin Mieses, 32, was critically injured. His wife told ABC News earlier this week that Mieses may be paralyzed.
Lien’s wife said Thursday that Lien took off because he felt threatened by the group.
“Our sympathies go out to the injured motorcyclist and his family,” Ng said. “However, 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.”
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Monday that Lien would not face charges for hitting the motorcyclists. However, police sources told ABC News on Wednesday that investigators are reviewing all aspects of the conflict, including what happened before and after the helmet-cam video.
“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,” Ng said.
Though she did not give any details, Ng alluded to the fact that individuals stepped into help Lien when he was attacked by at least one motorcyclist after the high-speed chase ended. Lien was treated for stitches at Columbia Medical Center and released, police said.
“We would like to thank the brave citizens who risked their own safety to intervene on our behalf. They truly helped save our lives and prevented my husband from suffering further injury,” she said. “We also appreciate and are moved by the outpouring of love and support so many have expressed here in New York and around the country.”
No additional arrests have been made in the case. One motorcyclist seen on the video banging on the SUV’s window turned himself into police earlier in the week and was questioned and released, police said.
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