‘They’re going to kill someone’

Rosie Mullaley
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

People who throw snowballs, rocks at cars can cause huge danger: longtime cab driver

CityWide taxi driver Dennis Dooley said kids who throw objects like snowballs at cars have to realize how dangerous it can be.

The sudden shock can take your breath away. You’re behind the wheel making your way down the road when suddenly — BOOM! A solid ball of hardened snow strikes your windshield.

It causes some drivers to slam on the brakes, some to swerve out of control and some to crash.

The culprits are often thrill-seeking kids who quickly run for cover after the ambush.

Drivers’ reactions are rarely pleasant and some even get out of their cars to pursue the young hurlers.

While that may not be the wisest thing to do, many can understand such a response.

Dennis Dooley certainly does.

In almost three decades as a cab driver, his car has been a target many times. Kids throwing objects at his car have caused dents, dings, cracked windshields and smashed windows.

“You pass by schools and they’re are always at it, throwing snowballs or rocks. … They don’t realize the damage they can cause,” said Dooley, who drives with CityWide cabs in St. John’s. “It’s really dangerous, and when there’s a passenger in the car, they get a fright, too.

“Parents have really got to talk to their kids (about the risks of throwing snowballs), because if not, they’re going to kill someone.”

A St. John’s cab driver was charged with assault Monday after he reportedly confronted a 15-year-old boy, who he believed had thrown a snowball at his car on Fleming Street. The cabbie allegedly punched the boy. The man’s name hasn’t been released yet, since he hasn’t yet appeared in court. It’s unknown for which company he drives.

Dooley said he has never assaulted anyone as a result of a snowball being thrown. But he points out the justice system protects children.

“They’ll let kids be kids, but it’s the driver who ends up suffering,” Dooley said. “Police can’t do anything to kids. They get off scot-free.”

However, police said Tuesday the investigation into Monday’s incident is continuing and charges are pending against the teen.

Const. Karen Didham said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary receives hundreds of calls each winter of reports of snowball throwing at vehicles and property.

“The public need to be aware of the dangers in that, in particular with a moving vehicle,” she said.

“We don’t know how someone is going to react. … Someone may end up being seriously injured or even killed.”

She said the best things for drivers to do is get a description of the snowball throwers, pull over to the side of the road and call police.

“Once we receive a complaint we will send someone to investigate,” Didham said.


Geographic location: Fleming Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Cab Driver Right
    March 11, 2011 - 08:55

    Regarding this problem, I would like to say: after being hit by a snowball, once too often, i did slam on the brakes, jump out of the car and caught ONE of these boys. I held him by the colar of his jacket while he shivered and hollared. I called the police. I guess it was't a busy time for the police and they showed up immedately. The boy was put in the back of the squad car and brought home to his parents. The police officer dropped by my home after visiting the boys home and speaking with the parents. The officer felt the parents were going to deal with this issue responsibly and we left it at that. I received a phone call from the boys parents and the issue was indeed dealt with by the parents with the appropriate consequences and the boy had to apologize. So indeed this issue has to be dealt with in the home. I believe this Taxi driver should not be charged with any offense other than SELF DEFENCE and the boy who CAUSED the whole incident should be held responsible.

  • Just Me
    March 09, 2011 - 15:12

    Typical friday night of a taxi driver: - Dealing with between 1 to 10 university students who sneak their beer bottles into the back seat of the taxi and leave the bottles on the floor with beer spilling out of them - Dealing at least one to three people so drunk that they need to be carried to their door - Dealing with at least one to three high strung stoners who have little or no money left after buying their drugs to pay the fare. - Dealing at least once with snowballs, rocks, eggs, pizza, hotdogs, balls, or some other object thrown their way. - Avoiding at least 10 people jumping in front of their taxi downtown without any warning - Dealing with between one to five people begging you to give them a break on the fare after spending all their money on something they did not need. - Cleaning up vomit of at least one drunk person - Providing a shoulder to cry on for at least one person - Carrying at least 10 bags of groceries to peoples doors. Some because they are just to lazy to do it themselves. - Taking verbal abuse from at least one person just because they think all taxi operators are scum. - Avoiding getting cut in two by at least one drunk driver. - Listening to at least one person throw insults at you just for being a taxi operator. - Receiving few thank yous from anyone for getting them safely home. - Listening to at least one person who has never driven a cab in their life claiming that taxi drivers have the easiest job in the world. There's an old saying that goes, "Don't knock it until you try it."

  • Sparky
    March 09, 2011 - 13:31

    I agree with Gerry! I got a shit-knock`n when I was 15yrs old for the very same thing & I don`t think it hurt the next day but I was sore & sorry.

  • Chantal
    March 09, 2011 - 12:19

    Sooo if someone cuts me off in traffic, it's perfectly okay for me to chase them down, pull them out of their car and beat them senseless, or is this just for kids with snowballs? Just wondering...

    • W
      March 09, 2011 - 15:57

      So how exactly does another driver (most likely not 15 years old and not accountable to the law), whatever about the manner in which they were driving, compare with a teen throwing a hardened snowball at a windshield? In your scenario does the person who cuts you off jump out of their car to throw stuff at yours? I'm failing to see the comparison (because these situations do not compare), and I don't recall the last time I saw a news story about someone getting punched after being chased down by someone they cut off in traffic.

  • chris
    March 09, 2011 - 12:06

    Ive had it happen to me as well , its scary , the teens today are getting off with murder , im only 36 yrs old , you would be scared to death to do somthing like that when we were teenagers , MAKES ME SICK , WAY TO GO CABBIE , U DID US ALL A FAVOR !! I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING ,,

  • Anon
    March 09, 2011 - 11:21

    “Once we receive a complaint we will send someone to investigate,” Didham said. total crock. the police won't send someone to investigate when you're car is broken into over the night why would they send one into the snowbanks to find some kid that won't get so much as probation anyway. Take the little brats to a commonlaw court and hold them responsible for property damage and restitution. Make em work for the money if they don't got it and they don't wanna do that. Haul them to court, charge the kid, charge the parents and publicize it.

  • Bonnie
    March 09, 2011 - 10:35

    I would like to comment on the story about kids throwing snowballs at cars and in particular the cab in your story. We all know how dangerous this can be and that it could cause an accident, but, lets get real, does it justify taking the law into your own hands and administering punishment to the person who does it. If we could all do that, we would be issuing tickets every time a cab driver runs a stop sign and a yellow/red light. My kids are all grown, but when they did wrong I wanted to do the punishment, thank you and not another adult. We all have to obey the law.

  • ANON
    March 09, 2011 - 10:26

    Know what else can be dangerous? Taxi drivers behind the wheel on a 12hr+ shift.

  • Just Saying
    March 09, 2011 - 10:06

    I have been on bus's when snowballs and rocks are hurled at the bus and you get a fright. These kids don't know the danger they are causing. Someone can be killed due to this foolishness. I think the cabbie just reacted to the fright of it all and in the moment smacked the kid around. This kid should be charged with endangerment to the public. People need to teach these hooligans right from wrong because they not taught it in the home that's for sure. The cabbie should not face charges he just reacted.

  • Leona
    March 09, 2011 - 09:56

    I think the cabbie should not charged & the kid should be charged. This will show other kids that they should be held responsible for their actions because one of these days someone is going to get killed especially if they start putting rocks in them snowballs!!!!

  • Nancy
    March 09, 2011 - 09:49

    "She said the best things for drivers to do is get a description of the snowball throwers, pull over to the side of the road and call police. “Once we receive a complaint we will send someone to investigate,” Didham said". This is a waste of time. I had a beer bottle thrown at my car (from a moving car on the road) while my car was in my driveway - it shattered my back windshield sending glass shards everywhere and barely missed me and my friend's eyes. Instead of hopping in my vehicle and chasing after them - I called the police because I thought it was the right thing to do. When the officer got there - he didn't even get out of his car to check and see if we were okay or check the damage. We had to sit in the backseat while he took a description of what happened. There was pieces of beer bottle left with fingerprints on them! We told him and he didn't even care! I think the cab driver was in the right to chase the 15 year old down and punch him. It probably scared the youth straight. Maybe now he won't grow up to be a hooligan throwing beer bottles at people and make something of himself and his life. Sometimes tough love is the only way.

  • Christine
    March 09, 2011 - 09:35

    While I wish the driver had been more in control of the situation I feel the judicial system should throw the proverbial book at the teen and send a message to the parents by hitting their pocketbook. Community service is a great option here for the youth. Maybe cleaning up his school's property immediately following classes or maybe bright and early on a Saturday morning and ENFORCE it!! ie. no sports, no after school job

  • ang
    March 09, 2011 - 09:18

    lol, i seen the headline and then i seen the pic and i thought "woohoo, someone is finally doing a story on the treacherous driving habits of citywide drivers" In all seriousness though, like most things with kids behavior and outright disregard for any type of authority, it comes down to the parenting. It has become easier for the parents to let the kids away with whatever they want rather than have the fight - we are supposed to be raising our children to be responsible adults, we have to keep remembering that! Let kids be kids, but never forget they have to grow up too, and if we fail to teach them the basic fundamentals of everyday living (which involves having respect for authority) then we fail them as the adults they will ultimately become.

    • Citizen XVI
      March 09, 2011 - 14:26

      "... if we fail to teach them the basic fundamentals of everyday living (which involves having respect for authority) then we fail them as the adults they will ultimately become." And that is accomplished by beating them up???

  • t
    March 09, 2011 - 08:49

    Good advice, but how effective is it? Maybe the RNC can give us an idea of how many of these kids are actually caught, once a report is called in. I don't imagine any of these kids stick around long once they see a police car approaching. Are ANY of them actually caught? And what happens to them when and if they are caught?

  • Telling it like it is
    March 09, 2011 - 08:46

    Idiot teens have killed people by throwing ojbects at cars, or in this story, dropping from a bridge. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20060629/rock_edmonton_housearrest_060629/

  • mary
    March 09, 2011 - 08:38

    This is a very serious issue. My husband and I were driving on Kenmount Rd. and someone from ? Crosbie Rd. area threw what felt like an ice ball hitting my husband in the face. My husband quickly lost control but as luck would have it got the control back. We parked on the side until I checked his face which was very reddened and was stinging for a long time after. We thanked God that he was able to maintain control for the most part because we could have easily been killed or killed someone else. These are teenage punks who have no regard for safety just a big joke, a slap on the wrist and back at it again knowing they may not get caught and for the most part they don't get caught. The ones that are caught should have to do community service and learn how to show respect to people. I know young people are not all alike, I've had young men hold the door for me many times and a select few would knock you down. I've also had adults who know your behind them but will not hold the door just let it go in your face. As they say ignorance breeds ignorance.

  • deanne
    March 09, 2011 - 08:28

    ok so thats stupid. hold on now im gonna pull over to call police cause someone hit my car! NO! omg what is with the justus system theses days? cabbie did the right thing. the kid could have cause alot more damage including dangering other drivers. what if there was an infant in the car? my god think ppl. i think u should drop the charges on cabbie and charge kid! kids get away with everything cause there underage.well its time to change the law!! let cabbie go!!! FREE CABBIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • John
    March 09, 2011 - 08:27

    I was in a cab one evening and a 20 something year old ran at the cab while we were moving and kicked the car. When the cab stopped and both the driver and I got out to look at the damage, not confronting them, the kid ran at me and kicked me in the stomach. I immediately called the police and reported the assault and the address of where this group of guys came out of. It took police more then 15 minutes to call me back. These scum where long gone and police could do nothing for me. They wouldn't even visit the address of the house in which I saw these guys coming out of. How can a cab driver expect the police to catch and stop teens if they are unable to stop adults who physically assault individuals. And all this happened on a residential street in the cities east end.

  • Jenny
    March 09, 2011 - 08:25

    Physically assaulting someone is not the answer. The driver should be charged with assault causing bodily harm and the kid with mischief or vandalism.

  • chuck
    March 09, 2011 - 08:12

    what a dumb statment for one of our supposely finest police officers in canada to make- get a description of the snow ball throwers pull over and call police. what do you think they are going to wait around and wait for the police to come . by the way dont you guys know that they all look alike with their hoodies up around evil faces. it's time to smarten up and lets try and get something done about those punks roaming our streets day and night it is long over due

  • Ruth C.
    March 09, 2011 - 07:33

    Good for the driver! It’s time that children learned that violence is the best way to solve life’s problems. Why are they not teaching this in schools? I believe that we should all emulate this brave man and beat up on anyone who we believe is breaking the law – unless they’re bigger than us. This is why citizens (taxpayers) should be encouraged, even required to carry side-arms. I also think the boy’s parents should hunt down this cab driver and give him a taste of his own medicine. Who needs courts and police when we can just form our own vigilante squads and render justice frontier-style?

  • Gerry
    March 09, 2011 - 07:24

    The cabbie who slapped the twit around should get a medal for doing a public service.

  • Cher
    March 09, 2011 - 07:23

    15 yrs old is closer to being an adult than a kid. He knows better. If he actually did throw something at the cab, he deserved a smack in the chops. Hopefully he'll think twice before doing it again.

  • P F Murphy
    March 09, 2011 - 06:55

    Certainly a charge of reckless endangerment would be a thought along with vandalism and a damage to property claim. An example has to be set besides the one that the kid gets away with it while the driver, the victim, gets punished which will put us all in danger as they get braver and more impudent.