Archive for the Close Calls Category

Hit and Run Or Assault

Posted in Close Calls, Law Enforcement, Road Rage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by HackingVegas

As my twitter followers know, I had another incident at work last week. This one pushed me over the edge and got me to try to get local media involved in order to better protect myself and fellow hacks in Las Vegas. It started with a typical fare pick up at a resort where I was taking the second half of a large group to the outlets.  As I was pulling down the driveway I had a van next to me. For no apparent reason he started to come into my lane. This is common so I tapped my horn a few times hoping he would correct himself. Instead he continued to try to run me up the curb into the planter. I laid on my horn as I pulled up to the stop light.

The driver of the van opened his door, jumped out and started to run to my driver’s door. I thought I was ok because our cabs have auto lock doors when you put them in gear. Little did I know mine were not working that day.  He grabbed my door handle and flung it open.  He was yelling at me asking why I didn’t stop at the stop sign behind us. I couldn’t help but laugh and said,

“I’m sorry my stop wasn’t good enough for you but what gives you the right to come at me the way you did?”

Well, I guess that wasn’t the best way to handle it because he responded by saying, “Fine! I’ll come at you like this”, as he took a swing at me. I leaned away from it and he missed. I was able to grab my door and slam it shut before he had time for another swing. I locked the door, hit the panic button on my camera and radioed into dispatch what was happening.

By now my fare is freaking out and screaming bloody murder. My dispatcher didn’t make things any better. When I called in, the dispatcher couldn’t get my cab number right if her life depended on it.  It took 5 times for her to finally repeat the proper number. I chalked it up to the crappy radios the company put in not too long ago. Then I told her what just happened and gave her a description of  the man, his van & his license plate number. Once again I repeated myself 5 times before she repeated the proper plate number.  At this point I’m getting pissed. I’ve given this person who is supposed to be there to take information from me a lot of things I couldn’t write and I was sure that none of it was taken properly.

After he drives off I pulled my cab to a side road and parked.  My Fare was scared but I was trying to explain that I needed a statement from them.  But just as one of them was willing to do it my dispatcher said that the police ran the plate and it came back as invalid. She repeated the number back to me and to no surprise  she had written it down wrong. I remembered all but one letter and knew it was one of 2 options. I gave her the right plate number with both possibilities and waited to hear back. She then came back and said that both Metro and the Taxi Authority (TA) were not going to respond but that the TA wanted me to go to their office when I was done so they can do the paperwork needed. My fare had enough and hailed a cab out of there.

I couldn’t believe that this lady caused two different police agencies to not respond. Twenty minutes later, a Metro Traffic Officer pulled up and I found out why they didn’t come. He was sent for a Hit and Run car vs car crash. Nothing in the call said there was an assault. He asked if TA was going to handle it and after hearing they were, he pulled off. When my Supervisor found out that the call said nothing about the assault he called the TA and filled them in on what was really happening. They still didn’t want to send anyone out and wanted me to just come to the office still.

So off I went…

Who Needs a Door Handle (WTF 1)

Posted in Close Calls, Driving Basics, Road Rage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by HackingVegas

Yesterday was a bad day all around. But no bad day is complete without a cherry to top it off. This is going to be part one of a look inside the inner workings of the taxi industry during an “emergency”.

I pull up to the hotel to let my fare out and when I get back in the car to leave a black SUV pulls around me and stops. I give him a minute to figure out what he’s doing (car had out if state plates). The driver gets out and started to unload a ton of bags. I tap my horn to get his attention and point to the sign saying it’s a “thru lane”. He just kept unloading. I then lean out the window and tell him, “hey, this is a thru lane you need to pull forward to the side to unload your car so everyone can get thru”. Well that didn’t go over well. He grabbed the next bag and slammed it against my cab. Thankfully staff at the hotel saw what was happening and went up to the guy and asked him to not unload there and told him he can pull up to the side to unload.

He got back into his SUV and pulled down the driveway. I put my car in drive and off I went. As we get to the edge of the property he stops and puts his SUV in park. Next thing I know his two doors fly open and two guys jump out and run at me. I’ve seen this before so I know what’s coming. I hit the panic button on my camera and I start to roll my window up as the driver reaches my door. Before I can get the window all the way up he takes a swing at me. Thank god he missed and my window is now up. They start yelling and I yell back, “WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR DEAL? why don’t you get back in your car and get the fuck out of here”.

Well as I’m sure you’ve guessed, leaving was not what was on his mind. He wanted blood and wasn’t going to leave till he got it. He grabbed my door handle and in one swift tug ripped it right off the door. His buddy then got a freaked out look on his face and pulled the driver back to the SUV. They sped off and I switched my radio to “emergency” (as per company policy) and called it in. I started to follow him to get the plate number and make and model of the SUV.

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Once I got that he noticed I was behind him and started to run every red light for as far as I could see. I turned back around and started back to the hotel to wait for the Taxi Authority. Before I could get there my dispatch came back on the radio and said I needed to go back to the cab yard. I asked about the Taxi Authority and was told that per the road supervisor I needed to go back to the yard and everything would be handled there.

This isn’t out of the ordinary. The Taxi Authority does this a lot. I have yet to find out why but it happens so I started back like I was told.
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This mini-drama will continue for the next few posts. You can track them in order by the (WTF) plus a number at the end of each tittle.

HELP HELP HELP

Posted in Close Calls, Driving Basics, Drunks, Law Enforcement, Robberies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by HackingVegas

This job has many risks. Dealing with the public has its ups and downs and the other day was another case of the bad. It was the last fare of my shift and I picked up from the new Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. Two Men, one in his late 20’s and the other in his 40’s, got in and were drunk as hell. I was able to smell the alcohol before they even sat down. The younger guy gives me the cross streets of Tropicana and Maryland, saying that’s where they live. I start toward that intersection the shortest way possible (which any local would know). The younger man then says,

Him: Oh wait turn there

Me: I thought you said Trop and Mary?

Him: oh yeah ok you know what you’re doing

My first alarm goes off. If he really lives there, why is he trying to make me turn away from his house ? I start really paying attention to what they are saying now and try to get more info from them. I ask for an address and get a street name that is about 3 miles from the intersection they gave. I then ask,

Me: Oh, so are we going to Trop and Mary or Russell and Sandhill?

Older Man: (with a funny look on his face) Oh.. ah …yeah that’s what we said right?

Me: (playing along) I don’t know. Probably, it’s the end of my shift and I forgot what you said.

Older Man: Ok,  just keep going and I’ll tell you where to go

At this point ALL ALARMS are sounding and I try to remember the distress code for dispatch. The men started talking in a whisper and shifting their bodies a lot. I know this is going to turn out bad if I don’t do something. I pick up the radio and give the HELP HELP HELP code to the dispatcher. This code sounds like normal talk to anyone else and because drivers are always talking to dispatch the riding public doesn’t catch on. But after I give the code, the older man starts to cry. I’m confused and realize he knows what I just did. He must have worked for this company before. We’ve had former employees hold our company up before and I figured this was just another one. I hear him say something to the younger man and then  he started giving me random directions. Knowing that the cops should be on their way I continue on the path I gave in the code to dispatch. Next thing I know the old man yells:

Older Man: STOP STOP STOP. Just let us out here. We’re good, here just stop.

Me: Ok, let me pull over.

Younger Man: Here just take this (throwing a 10 dollar bill at me)

I pull over in public view and let them out. They take off running and I give dispatch the all clear and start back to the yard. I started thinking on the way back, I never got scared and my heart didn’t even race during all that. This job has obviously taken its toll on me but caused me to be more street smart than ever before. I didn’t even call the wife or tell anyone about this until now (well I kinda told the wife later that night).

Merry Drunken Christmas

Posted in Close Calls, Crazy Families, Driving Basics, Drunks, Law Enforcement with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by HackingVegas

I got a call for a local casino (a resort off the strip) around 5:30 in the morning in mid December last year. When I pulled up, a drunken man came out and jumped in. I asked for his address and he mumbled something so I asked for cross streets. Most drunks can give left/right directions when you’re close to their house. He gave me the cross streets and I pulled off. When we got to his area I was guided to his house.

One of the things I got from my old company was keeping the child locks on to prevent run outs and to keep doors from opening into traffic.

So I get out and open his door. He stumbles out and I tell him the fare is $17.50. He looks at me and tells me to fuck off. I simply replied, “ok, I will as soon as you pay me”. I guess he didn’t like my smart ass remark due to his reaction but he was pulling his wallet out.  I said again,”$17.50 and I’m gone”.  He throws it at me and it hits the ground while he says, “get it yourself, fucker”. I bend over to pick it up and as I’m standing back up he comes at me.  I notice there is a 6 inch (15 cm) Buck knife coming at me. He gets it close to my stomach and says, ” give me your fucken money or I’ll kill you. I jump back and push him back at the same time.  Thank god he’s drunk as hell and doesn’t move very fast. I turn and jump in my car and lock the doors. I got on the radio and called it in to my dispatch. While they are getting all the info from me and calling the cops he turned (while still yelling at me) and goes inside his house (yes it really was his house).

Next thing I know, he comes out with another guy and gets into a Ford Mustang and they speed off.  Well, I was pissed at this point and was not about to let him go. Good thing I was driving a Chrysler 300 Hemi C Class. Yes my old company had some badass cabs. This guy really wasn’t that good at driving to start and the fact that his stock Mustang had nothing on me I had no problem chasing him.  I called out my chase to the dispatcher who had the cops closing in on us.  He made a wrong turn and came to a cul de sac. He pulled straight into a back yard of a house who’s gate was open and both of them bail.  The cops showed up about 30 seconds later and got the driver at gun point.  He was trying to say no one was with him and that I was chasing him for no reason and he was just scared.  The K-9 officers show up and start their search. ( Metro has some of the best K-9’s) 

About 20 mins into the search I hear all hell break loose on the block next to us.  Come to find out they found the guy under a shed in an old mans backyard and while they were trying to get him out, the old man (who couldn’t see well and was confused) came out and pulled a gun on the cops and started saying if they don’t get out of his yard he would shoot them. Now half the cops were ready to shoot this old guy and the other half were trying to handcuff the runner. Finally the old man understands that they are the cops and goes back in. 

They brought the guy over for ID and off to jail he went. During all of this an older lady shows up with her daughter (who was wearing a Bail bonds shirt) to pick up the car. Come to find out the two guys were father (guy with knife) and son (guy who drives like shit). I looked at the cops and said MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS TO ALL.  

 

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