Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Biker Denies Charges

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Biker Denies Charges

Article excerpt

Prosecutors probing a New York City road-rage incident during a weekend motorcycle rally said Wednesday they are taking charges against a Passaic man to a grand jury while reviewing the roles of dozens of other bikers.

Christopher Cruz, 28, is accused of sparking the Sunday incident, which included a chase of an SUV by a swarm of motorcyclists on a Manhattan highway and resulted in bloodshed and broken bones. Cruz was charged Wednesday with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment and was released on $1,500 cash bail.

His lawyer, H. Benjamin Perez, said Cruz denies the charges. "He will come back to fight this case and clear his name," Perez said.

Cruz, whose license was suspended as a condition of his bail, is the only person charged criminally so far in the incident, which was caught on another biker's helmet camera and posted online anonymously. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office decided not to immediately prosecute a second suspect who surrendered Tuesday.

Cruz's license has been suspended four times before in New Jersey, the last time in 2006, state Motor Vehicle Commission records show. He has received 17 summonses for traffic violations since 2001, including five for careless driving, two for unsafe operation and one for speeding, records show. He was in good standing with the state MVC before Sunday, with just one point on his driver's license.

During the rally on the West Side Highway, authorities said Cruz cut in front of a black Range Rover, slowing so much that his motorcycle's rear tire and the front of the SUV collided.

On the video, about two dozen riders then slowed, swarming the SUV and blocking it in. The driver, Alexian Lien, 33, of New York, who police say feared for his family, plowed over another rider.

A chase of about 2.5 miles ensued, ending when the SUV exited the highway and got stuck in street traffic. …

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