TODAY   |  March 05, 2014

Paralyzed biker: ‘I don’t blame’ driver who hit me

Edwin Mieses, a motorcyclist left paralyzed in a confrontation between bikers and the driver of an SUV in New York City in September, sits down exclusively with TODAY, recounting that horrifying day and saying a video of the incident only reveals part of what happened.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back at 7:40 with the confrontation on a new york highway that made headlines across the country. you'll remember this. it happened in september. an suv driver chased by bikers , dragged from his car and beaten in front of his family. well, shortly before that, one of the motorcycle riders was run over by that suv and is now paralyzed. we're going to talk to him exclusively in a moment. but first, more on the events of that fateful day.

>> the brutal attack is unforgettable. a group of bikers surrounding an suv using helmets to shatter its windows before pulling the driver from the car and beating him all in front of his wife and 2-year-old. 11 have been indicted in connection with the beating. all cases are still pending, the incident dominated headlines last fall and created public outrage.

>> clear and present danger . they could have been both killed. not just the man, but the driver. they wanted to get to the wife, as well, who was holding him to her chest.

>> the events leading up to that attack were captured on video posted to the internet. when dozens of motorcyclists surrounded a range rover blocking it in the middle of the road . one of the bikers stopped short in front of the suv leading to a fender bender . then, many of the bikers got off their bikes blocking traffic. and after a few tense moments, the suv driver hit the gas running over one of the bikers and his motorcycle. neither the suv driver nor the injured biker have been charged with any crime. the injured biker, 32-year-old edwin suffered a torn aorta, nine broken ribs and a severed spine leaving him paralyzed.

>> he damaged my son's life forever. my family forever.

>> after a high-speed chase, the bikers caught up with the suv again, some pounding on the windows and beating the driver in the middle of the street. and edwin is with us this exclusively this morning along with his wife and their attorney gloria allred . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> let me start with how you're feeling.

>> i'm doing good. first, i want to say thank god, you know what i mean . because if it wasn't for his grace, i wouldn't be here for this interview.

>> what have doctors told you about your future and whether you'll be able to walk again?

>> they told me 98.99% that i wasn't going to walk. but i refuse to believe that.

>> you're working hard in rehab.

>> definitely. i want to walk more than they want me to walk.

>> let's go back to that day. for one thing, a lot of people say this was a biker gang , this was a gang in this group. why were you there? were you part of this gang or group?

>> no, i actually came from massachusetts for a ride that i became aware of on the internet. which i did the ride prior to that twice before, so it's just a regular ride.

>> you didn't know those other people.

>> no, i did not.

>> let's talk about what happened. as we just saw, first, the suv gets in the middle of these bikers , it bumps somebody on a bike. this suv stops, several of the bikers stop, you were one of them. why did you get off your bike and go over there?

>> i wanted to check on -- i seen him get hit out of the corner of my eye .

>> was he one of your friends you came with?

>> no. i just got off like any other human would. to make sure he was all right. i glanced over at the driver to see if he was all right, too, because he was at the end of the day .

>> did you see any threats or intimidating action against the driver?

>> no.

>> did you participate in any threats or intimidating action against the driver?

>> definitely not.

>> obviously the driver was spooked. he takes off, he hits you. you know, i think when people see that video, you know, you hope that someone in your circumstances wouldn't remember. that you'd be in shock. but i know you remember everything.

>> yeah. i was fully conscious for the whole entire thing.

>> can you tell me what happened?

>> i got off my bike to check on cruz and to -- i've seen the area. as soon as i seen it wasn't that serious, you know, i really didn't want to ruin the ride. and besides that, in the middle of the highway. so i just wanted to keep going. as soon as i turned around, start walking back towards my bike, that's when i got ran over.

>> you felt every bit of excruciating pain.

>> i didn't want to open my eyes because i knew it would hurt me. because the whole time, i've got my eyes closed and like, wow, he really hurt me.

>> a little girl helped you in that moment. can you tell me about that?

>> yeah. she was like an angel. kept throwing water on my face to keep me awake. i was so aggravated she was throwing water on my face. i was awake because i was aggravated.

>> do you blame the driver of the suv who hit you for your injury?

>> no, i don't blame him. i don't blame him. at the end of the day , i'm not him to know what was going through his mind.

>> do you agree with the prosecutor's decision not to charge him?

>> well, that's an interesting issue. what we hope, savannah, is that the prosecutor does not look at the public opinion , that the prosecutor looks at the facts, looks at the law, decides whether or not the driver of the suv who ran over edwin --

>> sounds like you want him to be charged.

>> paralyzed him for life. whether the driver was in reasonable fear and had any kind of justification for running over edwin who was just -- had his back to the suv and was run over walking back to his motorcycle.

>> gloria, i know you haven't yet, but are you planning to sue the driver or the city of new york ?

>> we have not filed a civil lawsuit .

>> have you ruled it out?

>> well, we don't rule anything out at this time?

>> you're considering it?

>> we are -- we do believe edwin is a very courageous young man. and he is completely innocent. he never did anything to the driver except basically had his back to the car. and this is a courageous young woman . his wife diana, she was at his side. slept at the hospital in a chair every night for months while he was trying to recover from this life-changing terrible incident. and i give all credit to her, too.

>> well, you have both been through so much. and i know you talked about how in the midst of this terrible circumstance, you found your faith and it's really helped you.

>> definitely. like i say, man, all glory to god , to my lord jesus christ . through this whole thing, i've realized, you know, that life is more important to us than what we take. we always take everything for granted, you know, and it's like, what would i give to be able to walk again or be able to use the bathroom again on my own? simple, basic things that we all experience as humans, but we don't value as much as we would value, you know, job or something. so that has allowed me to see things from a different angle, let's just say.

>> you have been through so much. we wish you the best of luck in your recovery. thank you for being here and sharing your story. we appreciate it. thanks.

>> thanks.