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The BMW driver whose ride was surrounded and trashed by a gang of bicyclists on Fifth Avenue was attacked in broad daylight while driving with his elderly mom — who screamed during their escape, “We’re going to die, they’re going to kill us!”
Max Torgovnick, 36, recounted the harrowing run-in to The Post one day after it unfolded around 4 p.m. Tuesday at 21st Street and Fifth Avenue.
“It’s something that I never expected to happen in New York City,” said Torgovnick, a lifelong city resident. “That’s something like you would see on the streets of a war zone. I never thought New York would get this bad.”
Torgovnick and his mom had just dropped off a donation to Housing Works — a nonprofit helping fight homelessness and the AIDS crisis — and were driving to his father’s neurology office when they encountered what he estimated to be about 50 teen bikers, Torgovnick said.
“I slowed down to let them go by, but then they started surrounding the car on either side, and one of the bikers did a wheelie and went into the back of my car,” said Torgovnick. “I stopped to make sure nobody was hurt.”
That’s when the groups began pounding on the car with their fists, feet and bikes themselves, and trying to yank open the doors, while yelling, “Get out! Get out!,” according to Torgovnick and wild video of the incident.
“All I thought about was that incident a couple years ago on the West Side Highway,” said Torgovnick, referring to a 2013 incident in which a gang of bikers boxed in a man driving with his family, leading him to accelerate through them for fear of his own safety.
Eventually, one biker vaulted up onto the car and jumped on the windshield, causing it to partially cave in.
“At that point, I was afraid that they were going to break the window, get in the car, reach in, and pull us out,” said Torgovnick of himself and his mother, who is in her 70s. “My only thoughts at that moment were self-defense, [that] I wanted to protect my mother and I also didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
All the while, his mom was frantically dialing 911.
“She was screaming, ‘We’re going to die, they’re going to kill us,’” recalled Torgovnick.
Torgovnick eventually “found an opening” through the blockade of bikes and drove a few blocks to safety.
Police are searching for the perpetrators, who similarly attacked at least one other vehicle around the same time and location, a yellow cab.
In the aftermath of the nightmarish encounter, Torgovnick said that he got to see the good side of the city he calls home.
“The cops were unbelievably comforting,” said Torgovnick, noting that they drove his mom to his father’s office while kind-hearted strangers waited with him for a tow truck. “That’s the other thing about New Yorkers. They’re very helpful.”
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