The savage attack of a motorist and his family by motorcyclists on a New York City street 10 days ago would be anyone's worst nightmare.

When Alexian Lien took his wife and their 2-year-old child out to celebrate the couple's wedding anniversary that Sunday morning, the last thing he expected was a life-and-death confrontation with a gang of motorcyclists. Video shows one biker, Christopher Cruz, 28, cutting off Lien's Range Rover and slowing down before the SUV bumped his motorcycle's rear tire on the Henry Hudson Parkway.

When bikers surrounded his SUV, Lien, obviously fearing for himself and his family, drove off, running over another biker Edwin "Jay" Mieses Jr. who suffered a broken spine and both his legs. That led to a four-mile highway pursuit by the incensed bikers and ended with the SUV being trapped in traffic on a neighborhood street.

A video shows bikers bashing in the windows of the SUV. Lien was then pulled from behind the wheel, beaten and stomped in front of his terrified wife and toddler.

Reginald Chance, 37, is one of four persons arrested and charged with assault, gang assault and criminal mischief. Although he may not have assaulted the driver, prosecutors said he was the one who shattered the SUV's driver's side window and "set into motion a chain of events that resulted in the driver being dragged out of his vehicle and beaten."

During his court appearance, Chance flipped off reporters with his middle finger. His lawyer admitted that Chance broke the window in a burst of anger but had nothing to do with the assault. Chance even feels he was the victim, stating that it was Lien who hit him with his SUV, and that he was retaliating.

Chance is no model citizen. He has a long list of prior arrests and had a suspended drivers license. Remarkably, he received only community service for his many run-ins with the law.

Cruz, the rider who cut off Lien's Range Rover SUV and slowed down before it bumped his motorcycle, will also be fighting his misdemeanor charges, including unlawful imprisonment.

A disturbing twist to the story involves a report that an undercover police officer witnessed the attack and didn't immediately report it. Using the excuse that he didn't intervene because it would have blown his cover makes does not make sense to us. We get the fact that law enforcement must make split second decisions but doesn't protecting someone facing imminent danger trump an undercover operation? Couldn't he at least have called 9-1-1 to get help?

One hero in this horror story is bystander Sergio Consuegra, a man in his 50s who was on his way to church that morning when he witnessed Lien being beaten and then seeing bikers going after his wife. He stepped in between and reportedly told the bikers: "`That's it, guys. Let it go. That's it. Let it go."

A dramatic photo shows Consuegra with his arms spread to shield the family. The bikers backed off, and Consuegra called police. He said he doesn't consider himself a hero and just wished he could have done more.

If it is true that an undercover cop was on the scene, then it seems that he, not a bystander, should have been the one to step in and stop this vicious attack by some renegade bikers.

By Jim Zbick

editor@tnonline.com