Friday, August 03, 2007

Man who confronted cabbies in court; Twenty-one-year-old accused of threatening to kill two taxi drivers

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website:

Rob Tripp
Friday, August 03, 2007

Local news
- A man accused of threatening to kill two Kingston taxi drivers was to appear in court today to face charges of uttering death threats.

The incident comes six-and-a-half weeks after a Kingston cabbie was killed by a passenger.

The confrontation happened around 8 a.m. yesterday after an Amey's taxi delivered a woman to a house on Elm Street, where an argument began between the woman and a man.

When the female taxi driver intervened, the man threatened to kill the cabbie. The driver activated a silent panic alarm that alerted other cabbies and they rushed to her aid.

"I was about the third car there," said driver Shelley Scott, who was also one of the first cabbies to arrive after mortally wounded driver David Krick called for help.

"It certainly brought my heart into my throat," Scott said. "It was very reminiscent of June 17."

At least half a dozen taxi drivers arrived at Elm Street within minutes and confronted the agitated man. At one point, he retrieved something from the home and began threatening to stab the cabbies with a sharp object covered by a bandanna.

"It turned out to be a ballpoint pen and he was wielding it like a knife," said Const. Mike Menor of Kingston Police.

The swarm of cabbies contained the man until police officers arrived and arrested him.

The 21-year-old man, whose name was not released, also is charged with breach of probation. He was held in custody until a bail hearing set for this afternoon.

During the confrontation, police say the man threatened to kill another driver.

None of the cabbies was injured.

The 39-year-old driver first threatened yesterday, a veteran Amey's driver, did not want to be identified by name out of fear of retribution.

The assailant also threatened to hunt down and kill her family.

Menor said the man was acting strangely and appeared to be very angry and extremely agitated.

He said police rushing to the scene yesterday had difficulty getting there because the streets were clogged by taxis that had responded to the distress call.

Scott said the incident is a reminder that taxi drivers need action quickly to improve their safety.

"It just seems like we're not being taken seriously," she said.

Most Kingston taxis do not have any safety measures for drivers, save for the panic buttons in Amey's cars, which are equipped with global positioning systems.

After Krick's slaying, the local taxi commission struck a committee to study safety ideas. It will report on Aug. 15.

Kingston Police are still hunting Krick's killer.

The 50-year-old veteran driver was stabbed and left on the sidewalk to die by a male passenger he picked up early on Father's Day morning.

Kingston Police have said they believe the killer has had help in eluding capture.

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