One of the motorcyclists who chased after an SUV driver and banged on his vehicle after a highway confrontation captured in a viral video tried to stop his fellow bikers from assaulting the driver, he tells NBC 4 New York.
Allen Edwards is the biker seen on video running toward Alexian Lien's Range Rover and banging on the rear window in Washington Heights after the motoryclist-SUV melee on the West Side Highway Sept. 29. He was charged with gang assault, rioting and coercion in the confrontation, but he says he never beat up Lien.
Edwards says he banged on Lien's passenger side window because he was concerned Lien would get away after he ran over another biker on the highway.
"I thought that from sitting there watching this guy bleed out of the mouth, not moving, thinking he's dead, the driver was already gone," he said. "I thought, 'I gotta catch up with this guy and not let him get away' because he was already fleeing the scene."
Edwards, a 42-year-old father of three, says he once witnessed a hit-and-run that killed a young girl and was deeply affected by it. He says he wanted to make sure the SUV driver didn't get away with a potential killing.
When the other bikers started converging on Lien, Edwards says he tried to stop the attack.
"When they were attacking him, I was screaming for them to stop and leave them alone because that's not what I wanted to happen," he said. "All I could do was scream. I couldn't get involved because there were so many of them. It happened so fast."
Lien's wife and toddler daughter were in the SUV as he was allegedly assaulted by the motorcyclists. Edwards said he saw Lien's wife through the window as he started yelling at Lien through the window and "when I saw her face, I thought I couldn't do that."
"I felt, like, her being terrified, like that stopped me right there," he said. "I stopped yelling at him and I went back to my bike."
Edwards' lawyer said he tried to protect Lien's family.
"My client may have been the only reason Mr. Lien's wife was spared," said John Carney. "He pleaded with the men to not hurt her."
Edwards said he only started riding again a few years ago and believes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"It's changed my life drastically because that's not the person I am," he said. "I'm not the kind of person that attacks people like that. I've been working since I was 13, and try to take care of my family. It's just unfortunate that I was there that day."
Carney said he and his client have met with prosecutors and they are fully cooperating. Edwards volunteered to speak to authorities right after the alleged assault, Carney said.
Lien has not been charged. Aside from a written statement released shortly after the attack, Lien and his family have not spoken publicly.