NEW YORK – A New York City man who intervened in the beating of a driver pulled from his car and set upon by a group of bikers said Sunday he "felt intense danger" as he protected the assaulted man.
Sergio Consuegra told reporters that he wishes he could have done more. He had been on his way to church on Sept. 29 when he saw an SUV stop on 178th Street in Manhattan and a group of motorcyclists approach.
"I made a simple step that day, a simple gesture. ... I must say today, to send a message to all that whenever they see a family in crisis, no matter the circumstances, when they cry for help, be there for them," he said, at the scene of where the incident took place and accompanied by elected officials.
Police have said the bikers stopped the SUV on a highway, attacked the vehicle and then pulled the driver from his car on after he plowed over a Massachusetts motorcyclist while trying to escape the initial confrontation. The driver, Alexian Lien, needed stiches after being beaten by the bikers. The motorcyclist who was crushed by the SUV, Edwin Mieses Jr., of Lawrence, Mass., suffered a broken spine and two broken legs and may never walk again, according to his family.
Consuegra said the riders started hitting the car, and that one of them tried to grab Lien's wife, who was in the car along with their child.
"She was kind of making some sounds," he said. "I saw a baby inside; she had the baby in her arms, I guess she was protecting the baby from all the glass that was flying inside and outside."
He said bystanders started screaming for the woman and baby to be left alone, and the biker let go.
Lien was on the ground when Consuegra stepped in between him and the bikers.
"There was more coming, and they feel like they wanted to keep hurting the man — and I felt intense danger at that moment, at that time, and I say to myself, 'Let me not show these people that I'm here to engage in any kind of confrontation but that I'm here to protect the man and the family, so I'm going to keep it cool.' That's what I was thinking," Consuegra said.
One motorcycle rider, Robert Sims, 35, of Brooklyn, has been arraigned on charges including gang assault.
Another man, Reginald Chance, 37, of Brooklyn, was in custody and expected to be arraigned on Sunday. He was brought briefly into court, where Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon explained that court personnel had been trying to reach Chance's lawyer but hadn't heard from him.
Chance, in a dark pants and a brown hooded sweatshirt, said he'd spoken to the lawyer earlier in the day.
The judge said he hoped to be able to conduct the arraignment later Sunday afternoon.
Two other people have faced formal charges in connection with the attack, though the case against one of those motorcyclists was subsequently dismissed when prosecutors said they needed more time to investigate.