Driver says he feared for his life as group on bikes attacked BMW in Manhattan

WABC logo
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Group of bikers attack multiple vehicles in Manhattan
Naveen Dhaliwal has more on a pair of violent encounters involving a group of bikers who attacked vehicles in Manhattan.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police want to identify the group of bicyclists caught on surveillance video surrounding a BMW and attacking the vehicle with the driver inside.

The incident was reported Tuesday just after 4 p.m. at the intersection of East 21st Street and Fifth Avenue.

The 36-year-old driver was with his mother as the scene unfolded. He said he still can't get over the shock that this happened on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and he had to fear for both his and his mother's lives.

"And I noticed this swarm of cyclists, tall, young kids just weaving in and out of traffic and kind of surrounding the car," the driver said. "We got to the point where they were in front of me and they were on either side of me and behind me, and I'm probably going like seven or eight miles an hour."

The driver, who only wanted to be identified as Max, said the kids were holding onto the door handles. He said his first instinct was to slow down, stop and let them pass him.

He said he didn't see it, but a witness told him someone was behind the vehicle on a bike doing a wheelie. And when Max slowed down, the biker apparently crashed into the back of the car.

Max says that is what instigated the attack that was caught on camera.

ALSO READ | Killings spike in New York City amid year of pandemic, unrest

He stopped when he heard the thud to make sure everyone was OK.

"I started to open up the driver door but I was immediately surrounded on every side by these kids that have just gotten off their bikes and they started screaming, yelling, punching the car, hitting the hood of the car, just yelling, 'get out, get out, open the roll down the window, roll down the window.' When I didn't, they started to take out their aggression on the car itself," Max said.

The group then jumped on the hood and windshield of his car while punching the side mirrors.

Authorities say the group also threw bicycles onto the vehicle which damaged the windshield, hood and side-view mirrors.

"But it was only once they started smashing the windshields as soon as the windshield broke, and the glass hit our faces and landed in our laps and I realized, like the ceiling is collapsing," Max said. "And if they jump on it one more time they're going to gain access to the car. My mom is on the phone with 911 dispatcher who probably couldn't understand a word she was saying, but literally the words I can't get out of my mind were 'they're going to kill us, we are going to die...please send help.'"

The pair had just finished donating items to a local charity nearby on Tuesday afternoon, right before the attack.

Max and his mother were not injured, but the vehicle sustained damage.

Police suspect the same group is responsible in an earlier incident where the group threw their bike at a yellow taxi in front of 261 Fifth Avenue.

In that case, the 52-year-old driver got out of his taxi and one of the suspects swung a bicycle at him, hitting him in the back.

After the attack that left Max and his mother shaken, they were told about the incident with the taxi cab.

"After it all happened and we were getting out of the car, a cab driver pulled up and said 'I'm so glad you're ok ...because the guy on 30th is not,'" Max said.

It was a solemn moment for Max, but he's also asking why?

"We need to look forward, we need to look at what we did wrong so people can express themselves so they aren't this angry," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

TRENDING NOW | Black teen accused of stealing phone in viral incident at NYC hotel says he's shell shocked

Derick Waller reports on the 14-year-old speaking out about the incident.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a News Tip