Police are looking for witnesses to a road rage incident in which a local taxi driver was assaulted.
On Feb. 25 a Maple Ridge taxi driver was blocked by an older-model white pickup truck on the Golden Ears Bridge and attacked by a man with a bar.
The vehicles had been travelling northbound on the Golden Ears Bridge when the incident occurred.
Police would like to talk to anyone who may have driven by or witnessed a white pickup on the bridge at around 3 a.m.
The driver for Alouette Taxi, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, suffered a broken jaw, eight teeth that were knocked out or broken, stitches in his cheek and eyebrow, and a left eye that was swollen almost completely shut.
He was returning from a fare that took him to Langley.
He said the driver of the white pickup was swerving across three lanes of the bridge.
The cab driver, who was alone in his vehicle, got to the far lane to pass the erratic driver, and honked his horn to let the other vehicle know he was coming up on his side. They were coming up on the Airport Way exit, on Golden Ears Way.
He said the truck swerved in front of the taxi, blocking two lanes, and the lone occupant got out when they came to a stop.
He walked to the driver’s side window of the taxi and punched the glass.
The man said to the taxi driver: “I’m going to kill you,” and walked back to his truck.
The cab driver was looking to back up his car and drive away, but with lights coming in his rearview mirror, he did not want to endanger another driver.
If he knew what was going to happen next, he would have taken a chance.
“He went crazy,” the cab driver said of the man.
The pickup driver smashed his driver’s side window of the cab, then hit the taxi driver twice in the face with what he believes was a tire iron or crowbar.
As another vehicle came upon the scene, which turned out to be another taxi. The assailant ran back to his truck and fled. The other cab pursued the suspect, but lost the pickup in the Hammond industrial park area.
Police and ambulance both responded, and the victim was taken to hospital. Police confirmed they are investigating the incident, but would not confirm if they stopped a suspect in a white pickup in Maple Ridge.
The taxi driver will be off work for four to six weeks while his injuries heal, and because he is a cab driver is not eligible for Worksafe benefits. Nor is the estimated $12,000 to $15,000 worth of dental work he needs covered.
An Alouette Taxi spokesman said the company does not pay WCB for drivers, who are all considered independent contractors. Some pay their own WCB coverage, and others don’t.
The taxi driver said he did not swear or say anything to antagonize the pickup driver. The whole incident was over in a matter of 30 seconds.
He is from India, having lived in Canada for 15 years and started a family with two young children. He did not characterize the assault as a hate crime, saying nothing racial was said by his assailant.
However, he said threats and assaults against taxi drivers are not unusual in Maple Ridge.
The victim describes his attacker as approximately 5’7” with an average build, about 40 years of age, and with a dark, ethnic appearance.