Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cab owner defends driver

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website


The owner of Kingston's biggest cab company says one of his drivers has been unfairly criticized after passengers he was ferrying savagely beat a man on Bath Road.

"I think what he did was appropriate," Mark Greenwood, owner of Amey's Taxi, said yesterday.

Greenwood said the driver did what was necessary to protect himself in a volatile situation.

He said the company has received calls and complaints from people who wrongly want to blame the driver.

"He is shaken up," Greenwood said. "He's also a little concerned that one of these guys is going to be looking for him."

The driver was heading east on Bath Road about 1 a. m. Sunday after picking up six men in his van at a west-end bar.

They appeared agitated and were looking for a friend, but left the bar before finding him.

As the taxi approached Tanner Drive, the cabbie heard one of his passengers say, "There he is," and the sliding door of the van began to open.

The driver pulled over and watched two of his passengers stumble across the road to where two men were fighting. Four men remained in the taxi, Greenwood said.

The cab driver was frightened by what he saw, as the three assailants pummelled a victim for about a minute.

"He just witnessed a really brutal assault," Greenwood said. "He wants to get them out of the van as soon as possible."

The three men who had participated in the assault got back in the taxi and the cab driver pulled away. He could see that other cars had stopped, including another taxi, to help the victim of the attack.

The cabbie assumed that one of those other people who had stopped was calling police.

The driver feared he'd be assaulted if he called 911 or if he tried to eject the drunken passengers from the taxi.

"He didn't want to agitate anyone in the vehicle by trying to contact the police himself [or put] his own life in jeopardy when he knew the guy was going to be looked after and that someone had probably called the police," Greenwood said.

Before the cab reached its destination, police pulled it over on Concession Street, where they arrested the three men who participated in the assault.

Greenwood said police had called the Amey's dispatch office and the taxi was quickly located because it is GPS equipped.

The victim of the attack, a 28-year-old St. Lawrence College student, suffered a host of injuries, including a possible broken nose.

His assailants were charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Copyright © 2009 The Whig Standard

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