Family in SUV Attacked by Bikers After Chase on Henry Hudson, Cops Say
MANHATTAN — A gang of two dozen motorcyclists bashed in the window of an SUV and pummeled its driver in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter after a harrowing chase in upper Manhattan Sunday afternoon, cops said.
The driver of a black Range Rover was going northbound on the Henry Hudson Parkway near 125th Street about 2 p.m. when he was swarmed by dozens of motorcyclists, according to cops and a dramatic 6-minute video taken by one of the motorcyclists with a helmet camera.
The 33-year-old SUV driver, whose identity was not released, rear-ended one of the motorcycle riders, sparking a round of anger from fellow riders who surrounded the SUV and slashed its tires, an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The driver hit the gas, plowing into three other motorcyclists in the process, police added. The video shows the SUV bucking as it plowed over the machines and kept driving.
The motorcyclists gave chase — tracking the driver on a winding route up the Henry Hudson and onto the exit to the George Washington Bridge, where one biker yanked open the driver's door to the SUV before the driver took off again, according to the video.
Sources said the SUV driver called 911 from inside his vehicle and told cops he was surrounded by motorcyclists who were driving erratically.
The bikers finally cornered the SUV after it got caught in traffic on 178th Street near St. Nicholas Avenue, according to cops and the FDNY.
A motorcyclist can be seen on the video pulling off his own helmet and repeatedly slamming it against the driver's side window while other bikers surround him and begin to do the same before the video cuts off abruptly.
Cops said the bikers smashed open the SUV window and pulled the driver out before slashing him in the face in front of his terrified family.
The SUV driver, who lives in Manhattan, was treated at Columbia Presbyterian for two black eyes and given several stitches, sources said.
An FDNY spokesman said they got two calls Sunday for a "non critical injury" at 125th Street and the Henry Hudson Parkway, and another for an incident at 178th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. Kelly said the motorcyclist who was hit suffered a broken leg.
Sources said the motorcyclists — part of the biker network HollywoodStuntz, which stages "block party" takeovers around the five boroughs including one in Times Square last year — had been planning to return to Times Square on Sunday.
According to the HollywoodStuntz Instagram account, the riders came from around the five boroughs and as far as Connecticut, and were planning to take over the streets.
But police had been monitoring their online activity and set up a blockade around Times Square, diverting the riders uptown, where they encountered the SUV, sources said.
"This is sort of a major stunt event where motorcyclists from various locations come together. Their ultimate goal is to get into Times Square, which they did last year. Quite frankly it wasn't on anyone's radar screen last year. We were aware of it this year and did a fair amount of enforcement," Kelly said at an unrelated press conference Monday, adding that the NYPD's Intelligence Division learned of Sunday's ride.
Sources said cops held a NYPD summit meeting on Friday to discuss their approach to Sunday's event. They decided to target several staging areas where the bikers met, and by showing presence and arresting those without proper paperwork, in hopes it would tamp down the bikers behavior.
"We hoped they would get the message, but you can never account for everyone's stupidity," a top police official said.
Cops made several arrests on Sunday, primarily at checkpoints into the city, where up to 15 bikers were arrested for minor infractions including inspections, Kelly said. Cops confiscated 55 motorcycles, and issued 68 summonses, he said. Police also went to multiple staging areas for the bikers, including a site near Bensonhurst Park along the Belt Parkway and on Steinway Street in Astoria, cops said. Police arrested some individuals with outstanding warrants, sources said.
On Tuesday, police said they had arrested biker Christopher Cruz, 28, on charges of reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child, and reckless driving.
The driver of the SUV was not charged in connection to the incident, police said.
Longtime Harlem resident Barri Anne Brown said she saw a large group of motorcyclists riding throughout the neighborhood Sunday afternoon.
"You could tell they were trying to antagonize people who were driving. They were getting inches away from other drivers," Brown said. "Some were raising up their fists."
Bronx and upper Manhattan residents have long complained about groups of motorcycle riders who they say are loud and reckless.
Bronx police commanders met over the summer to discuss ways to curb the motorcyclists, including creating checkpoints and raiding known motorcycle storage spaces in an effort to prevent unlicensed drivers from being on the road.
Police have also debated the safest ways to monitor riders, after cops chased down one rider and killed him in 2012. Some motorcyclists have defended their right to ride, and have demanded a designated space in which they can congregate freely on the roads.