A TAXI driver was counting his lucky stars yesterday after he was ambushed by two passengers, one wielding an icepick and the other a piece of rope.
Paul Williams, 43, who plies the Curepe/Chaguanas route with his Serena C25, told Newsday the incident took place at 7.45 pm on Tuesday.
The two men drove off with his van, leaving Williams bruised and battered on the shoulder of the northbound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway. Police found the van parked in Lange Park, Chaguanas yesterday morning with the keys still in the ignition.
Recounting the incident, Williams said he picked up six passengers on the Curepe taxi stand in Chaguanas. “My van is a six-seater and when I left, four of my passengers dropped off before I got to Caroni flyover,” he said. “There were two men in the vehicle and they asked me to drop them off by a track just before Caroni.”
As soon as Williams stopped, one of the men threw a rope around his neck. “There was a slim dark Indian guy and a slim Spanish one. The Indian one threw the rope around my neck and started to choke me. I started to fight him and he was shouting to the Spanish, ‘stab the man, stab him’.” Williams said he threw open the door and managed to get out of the van.
“Even when I came out, the rope was around my neck and they started to drag me with the vehicle. Their intention was to kill me for my own vehicle.”
Luckily, he was able to free himself. Yesterday, he said taxi drivers too often fall victim to criminals. “We are easy targets for them. They could have taken my life without a second thought when I was just trying to make a dollar for my family.” It was the first time he had been robbed.
Williams said he went to the St Joseph Police station but police there said he needed to make his report in the Caroni district. “They said it was out of their jurisdiction and I should go to Caroni. When I got to Caroni, they sent me to Chaguanas.” Police there finally took Williams’ report. He was full of praise yesterday afternoon for the Port of Spain Stolen Vehicles Division, saying they needed to be recognised for their hard work.
“The team led by Sgt Swamber, Sgt Dolloway, Cpl Kamal, PC Fortune, PC Armstrong and Insp Bruno really need to be commended for their hard work and dedication. I met some officers who refused to take my report – then to meet men like these who go all out to do their job, it was refreshing.”