Cab driver's collarbone broken, fingers severed in assault

Deana Stokes Sullivan dss@thetelegram.com
Published on April 16, 2014

A foreign exchange student at Memorial University who was working part-time with Co-op Taxi was severely beaten early Sunday morning by a customer in St. John’s, according to company general manager Doug McCarthy.

McCarthy said the engineering student from Pakistan picked up a passenger in downtown St. John’s and drove him to the Heatherton Place/Hamlyn Road area, a ride that costs about $15.

The passenger allegedly got out without paying the driver and tried to kick in the door of a home on Hamlyn Road. McCarthy said the driver radioed dispatch to ask for advice and was told to call the police.

McCarthy said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary responded, but by the time they got there, the man had pulled the driver out of the car and assaulted him by hitting him and biting his fingers.

“He has a broken collarbone and his thumb and forefinger are severed,” McCarthy said.

An ambulance took the driver to hospital and, McCarthy said, he was told it took five police officers to arrest the suspect.

He said the driver is now in Halifax getting treatment and is worried because he’s supposed to make a presentation in the United States soon to get a university scholarship.

“He doesn’t know if he will be able to. He can’t even talk,” McCarthy said.

He isn’t the first cab driver to be assaulted in St. John’s in recent months. McCarthy said another Co-op driver had a knife put to his throat and was robbed.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s something we have to deal with,” he said.

He said crimes like this deter some drivers from working night shifts. The driver who was robbed at knifepoint hasn’t returned to working nights, McCarthy said.

The RNC confirmed Tuesday that officers and police dog services responded to the Hamlyn Road area to the report of an assault Sunday around 2 a.m.

A 33-year-old man from Mount Pearl was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats. He was held in custody until a court appearance