By Sara Brown and Warren Talbot
Family and friends of a Lawrence man say he is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a wild encounter and road chase involving a large group of motorcyclists and a young couple in an SUV in New York City.
According to various reports out of New York City, Dayana Mieses said her husband, Jeremiah Mieses, who also goes by the rap name “Jay Meezee” might be paralyzed for life and is in a coma. Friends have started a GoFundMe page to support him.
The New York Post reported that Mieses was run over by a SUV driver who sped off in an attempt to escape a swarm of bikers on Sunday.
According to reports, Rosalyn and Alexian Lien, 33, and their 2-year-old child were travelling in a Range Rover on the Henry Hudson Parkway. One biker cut off the Range Rover and his rear tire was bumped by the SUV about 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
A stunning video showing the ensuing violence, which included the bikers chasing the Range Rover, was widely broadcast and went viral on the Internet.
Dayana Mieses said her husband got off his bike to help the biker who was hit in the minor collision with the SUV.
“That man paralyzed my husband,” Mieses said of Lien, the SUV driver. “He needs to pay for what he did.”
Police sad the motorcyclists were part of a planned but unauthorized event, in which hundreds of riders gathered outside of Manhattan with the intent of driving into Times Square as a group.
In its report, The New York Times described it “as a swarm of high-powered bikes” that “had all but commandeered the three lanes of the northbound Henry Hudson Parkway ... and caught between them was the 33-year-old driver of a Range Rover, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter.”
Under the name “Hollywood Stuntz,” the loosely organized ride succeeded in snarling Midtown traffic last year, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “with well over a thousand motorcycles, dirt bikes, quads, four-wheel vehicles,” The Times reported.
Elaborating on the incident, Dayana Mieses told Fox News that “my husband stopped the bike away from the scene and walked over to the front of the truck to try to help the guy that got hit.”
Reports said that Alexian Lien’s SUV hit a biker’s tire when the biker stopped while riding in front of him.
About 30 bikers then surrounded the SUV and made menacing gestures, and apparently one of them tried to slash the SUV’s tires before Lien sped off.
“I don’t know if (the SUV driver) was scared from whatever the other bikers were doing, but he ran him over,” Dayana Mieses said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mieses’s legs, spine and ribs are broken. He is also paralyzed below the waist and in a coma.
“My son just got out of surgery,’’ Meises’s father, the Rev. Edwin Mieses, wrote on Facebook. “Now we have to contend with his situation that he will never walk again.’’
Delilah Domenech, Mieses’ aunt, told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday that her nephew is suffering from a torn aorta (the main artery connecting the heart to the legs), crushed lungs and broken ribs.
“Everyone is devastated,” Domenech said of her family.
“The media is trying to paint the man driving the Range Rover as the victim,’’ says the Facebook group. “Yet, Jay Meezee is in a coma and paralyzed unable to walk again along with a list of severe injuries sustained.”
Domenech said she understands the SUV driver may have been fearful, but believes he could have handled the situation better.
“I understand if he was afraid,’’ she said. “However, he should have shown some compassion. He could have stopped and asked, ‘Are you OK?’ or ‘I’m so sorry.’ In my opinion, if you show violence, then you get violence back.”
According to the Daily News, police said Lien was punched and slashed in the face by bikers who chased the Range Rover into the Washington Heights neighborhood. He was sent to the hospital after calling 911 and had to receive stitches.
Video footage shows one of the bikers approaching Lien’s SUV and smashing the driver’s side window with a helmet. The Daily News reported that Lien was dragged out of the vehicle and attacked.
“From what I am seeing, the media is saying that he ran over bikes,’’ Domenech said. “He didn’t run over bikes. He ran over a person. It’s all about the poor driver. Nobody is saying anything about the pain my nephew and my family are enduring.’’
Andres Gonzalez, Mieses’ childhood friend from Lawrence, said Mieses is “fighting for his life.”
“There is more than one victim here,” Gonzalez said. “This is turning into a circus.”
Some expressed their support and well wishes for Mieses on the Facebook page, praying for a speedy recovery.
However, not all of the posts have been sympathetic. Some said the bikers should also be held accountable for actions causing the confrontation.
Domenech said she is disgusted by the negative comments.
“It’s horrendous. What is this world coming to?” she said. “I don’t want to see hatred directed to anybody .... I don’t wish for anything bad to happen to the driver. I have no idea what was going through his mind, but an apology would be nice.”
She said she believes the public is confusing her nephew with the man whose motorcycle was originally bumped by the SUV.
“He was in his lane driving normally,” she said of Jeremiah Mieses. “He then stopped when he saw what happened. That’s the kind of person he is. He makes sure his friends are alright.”
“He’s a good guy,’’ Gonzalez said. “It’s messed up what happened to him.”
Police have made two arrests stemming from the incident. Christopher Cruz, 28, was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless menacing and endangering the welfare of a child.
Police said the original collision appeared to be accidental. Then, about 30 seconds into the video, the bikes come to a complete stop on the highway, surrounding the Range Rover. An unidentified biker can be seen getting off his bike and walking toward the SUV as the other motorcyclists looked on.
“They take their helmets and they start to dent his car, and apparently his tires are slashed there,” said Kelly, the police commissioner.
The SUV then hits the gas, running over three motorcyclists, one of them Mieses.
Lien has not been charged.