Volume 93, Issue 40

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


NEWS

Top soph dismissed by Essex executive

Engineer review to begin today

Aboutown drivers alleged in Fanshawe student beatings

Monopoly still a threat

Shelter proposal to go before city

Briefs

Stuff

Caught on campus

Aboutown drivers alleged in Fanshawe student beatings



By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

A Fanshawe student plans to file a lawsuit against the Aboutown cab company, alleging he was assaulted by several cab drivers early yesterday morning.

Jeremy Ikeda, a first-year general arts and science student at Fanshawe, alleges he was attacked by several Aboutown taxi drivers after he and his two roommates called a cab.

Ikeda said the driver became angry after the threesome refused to give him a tip because he was rude. He added the driver drove off with himself and his roommate, first-year general arts and science student Nick Kondrat, still in the cab.

"He peeled out of the parking lot," Ikeda said, adding the driver ran red lights and reached speeds of 140 km/hr. Ikeda also alleged the driver called other cab drivers over his radio. "He got on a dispatch, he tried to get all of his buddies and said to meet downtown."

Ikeda said he was terrified and wanted the cab to stop. "We were saying, 'Let us out, let us out. We'll pay, we'll pay whatever.' He's like 'Screw you, I'll show you guys.'"

When they reached the Richmond Street and Pall Mall Street intersection, Ikeda alleged several cab drivers were waiting for them and when he jumped out of the cab he was assaulted by his driver. "Then his friends started chasing me around. One got a hold of me, grabbed me and threw me against the pole."

Ikeda said Kondrat managed to call the police, but not before being beaten up by other drivers. "We managed to get away. [Kondrat] ran into T.J. [Baxter]'s and I ran into The Ceeps."

Kalen Sairclough, service quality manager at T.J. Baxter's Bar and Grill, said although he did not know exactly what happened outside the bar, he remembered an abundance of cars. "I did see a lot of cabs blocking the street outside in the front," he said.

However, Paul Wong, head taxi supervisor for Aboutown, said Ikeda's cab driver alleged he was the first one assaulted. "One of the guys in the back punched him in the head," he said, adding the students were rude with the driver because he did not arrive immediately after the request for the cab came in.

Wong said the driver kept driving at no faster than 70 km/hr, until he reached the heavily populated Richmond Row, where people could come to his aid. He added the driver also sent several emergency distress signals because one of the students continued to yell and strike him.

When the police arrived, Wong said everything was broken up. "The police officer advised them not to lay any charges. It was just a whole whack of a mess."

However, Ikeda said he was angry because the police refused to press charges when they explicitly requested they do so.

Tracey Frizzel, media relations for the London Police said the students did not want to press charges at the scene.

Michael Ikeda, Jeremy's father, said he intends to pursue legal action in this matter. "We're going to lay charges," he said regarding Aboutown.

Michael said the cab driver should never have endangered two lives with reckless driving, regardless of who instigated the assault. "I think a court of law should be able to decide who's more credible in their stories."

Wong said he hoped no lawsuit would be filed. "Most cab drivers just want to make money, not get involved in lawsuits."


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Copyright The Gazette 1999