Dennis Cardwell left the stunting world of the Streetfighterz for good in 2009, but his retirement didn't stop him getting on CNN on Friday to comment on the brutal road rage incident between the driver of an SUV and a large group of sports-bike riders in Manhattan last Sunday.
A six-minute YouTube video of the incident, which has gone viral with nearly 7 million views, shows a black Range Rover apparently running over a number of motorcyclists after getting blocked and surrounded on the road. The group of bikers then pursue the SUV until it is forced to stop. A number of riders then get off their motorcycles, and one smashes the window the car with his helmet. The video cuts out just as the driver is pulled from his vehicle and beaten in front of his wife and young child, who were also in the SUV.
"It was disgusting to me to see that play out the way that it did," Cardwell told CNN's Victor Blackwell and Poppy Harllow on Friday. Later in the interview, Cardwell said: "I feel bad for both drivers. The motorcyclist got injured. Also the SUV driver, I think it's terrible it got to that point. People just don't weigh the consequences when they're being impulsive."
Here's the YouTube video of the incident, shot from a helmet cam:
The confrontation's aftermath has been grim, both for the SUV's driver and for the motorcyclist he ran over. The driver of the Range Rover, identified as 33-year-old Alexian Lien, was taken to a hospital to treat cuts to his face during the beating, according to police.
Meanwhile, Edwin Mieses, the motorcyclist shown being run over in the video, is currently in a medically induced coma. CBS reported that his legs are broken and that he suffered serious internal injuries. His wife told CBS that her husband will be "forever paralyzed."
Two bikers have been arrested, but the full picture of what exactly happened is still fuzzy: Police are saying that riders attacked the SUV first, causing Lien to panic and take evasive action to protect his family. One biker went on record accusing Lien of being a "maniac".
St. Louisians should be familiar with this kind back-and-forth blame game between motorists and sports bike riders: For over a decade the Ride of the Century, which Cardwell helped found as a member of the Streetfighterz in 2002, has sparked a similar debate. The Riverfront Times profiled the Streetfighterz and controversy surrounding the Ride of the Century in a recent cover story.
Two motorcyclists died in crashes during this year's Ride of the Century.
However, the current members of the Streetfighterz say they were stunned to see Cardwell get on national television to comment on an incident that really has no connection to himself, the Streetfighterz or Ride of the Century.
"He just wants to be the limelight," Streetfighterz cofounder Adam Hunziker told Daily RFT. Though Cardwell told CNN he left the group because of safety concerns, Hunziker disagreed: He said Cardwell left because he couldn't stand being overshadowed by the group's newer members.
In a post to the Ride of the Century's Facebook page, the Streetfighterz called Cardwell's comments "Irresponsible and disrespectful to the riders and families involved."
Here's the full post:
Anyone who saw Dennis Cardwell's interview on CNN this morning, this is NOT the opinion of Ride of the Century or Streetfighterz. We are of the opinion that riders ride for their own reasons and passion, and to comment on NATIONAL TELEVISION about an incident that happened thousands of miles away is irresponsible and disrespectful to the riders and families involved. We apologize for anyone that was offended - if it didn't offend you, all the better! Just wanted to make clear his lack of judgement and uneducated comments were not representative of ROC or Streetfighterz.
The main source of the Streetfighterz's ire, Hunziker explained, was that Cardwell went too far in trying to psychoanalyze the motivation of the riders who attacked Lien.
Cardwell told CNN:
"There's kids that want their fifteen minutes of fame or that quick glory. A lot of people are filming with the cameras, and they want to try to impress their friends. I guess you'll get some bad seeds in the bunch every so often that they think cutting cars off and just basically taking up the whole highway with no regard for anyone else is the way to do that."
On the other hand, the Streetfighertz themselves found fame through DVD box sets and, later, numerous YouTube videos.
Here's the full CNN interview with Cardwell, and you can view more Streetfighterz videos on the next page.
Click through to see more videos of bikers pulling stunts on Missouri highways
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