Beaten Maple Ridge cab driver says ‘I’m still the same’ a year later

Had teeth knocked out, left unconsious on Golden Ears Bridge

A Maple Ridge taxi driver who was beaten with a tire iron in a road-rage incident a year ago has been unable to get support, although a suspect has been identified.

“He left me for dead on the Golden Ears Bridge, and I’m still the same,” Mandeep Singh Sandhu said of his attacker.

“There is no change on my face – it’s still the same.”

He is frustrated that neither Worksafe, nor ICBC will give him financial support.

Sandhu was northbound on Golden Ears Bridge on Feb. 25, 2018. He honked at another driver in a pickup, which swerved in front of his cab to block his progress. The driver got out and smashed through the driver’s side window of his Alouette Taxi cab with a crowbar or tire iron, then attacked him, leaving him unconscious.

Sandhu suffered a broken jaw, losing five teeth, and head injuries. His left eyebrow and cheekbone were points of contact.

He still feels numbness on the left side of his head, and his left eye blinks about half as often as it should due to nerve damage.

“The eye feels like a stone.”

Sandhu did not pay into workers compensation, so his loss of income was not covered. He said ICBC only covered the glass claim, but not his injuries.

“Why fix the glass of the taxi, but they can’t fix me?”

Alouette Taxi does not pay WCB, as drivers are all considered independent contractors. Worksafe provides options for taxi drivers to pay their own monthly premiums for coverage. Some cab drivers purchase the coverage, while others don’t.

Sandhu said victim’s services has offered to help pay for dental repairs, estimated at $18,000, but not to the standards recommended by his dentist.

His family has a business in Maple Ridge, so he does have income now, but he has not driven taxi since the assault.

Sandhu is also frustrated that the perpetrator has not been caught, despite early identification of a suspect.

“This was a terrible assault on a taxi driver and we have been in contact with the victim. A suspect has been identified,” said Ridge Meadows RCMP Cpl. Amanda Harnett.

”We had several tips come forward out of our original media release and we always appreciate any opportunity to appeal for more information. If anyone has more info and has not already spoken with the police about this incident please contact us at 604-463-6251. The investigation is ongoing.”

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