He was trying to collect his fare when the girl attacked him. Hair gel saved him, he told police.
Roy Carlson Jr. says hair gel saved his life.
That was one of the first fleeting thoughts the St. Paul taxi driver had as he struggled with the 15-year-old girl who, seconds earlier, had slashed his throat and stabbed him repeatedly after a cab ride gone awry early Tuesday.
After the girl tried to stiff him on a $22 cab fare following a ride across St. Paul, the frustrated driver for Diamond Cab Co. was driving her to a St. Paul police precinct for violating curfew.
"All of the sudden I hear her scream in the background, 'I'm not going to jail!' and she pulled my hair back and started to cut my throat," he said Wednesday. "I had styling cream in my hair, and it slipped out of her hands."
Carlson is taking a week off to recover from a curve-shaped slash just below his chin held together with 13 stitches, additional cuts to his face, and stab wounds to his inner right leg and buttock.
St. Paul police say Carlson was an innocent victim attempting to collect his fare when the enraged girl cut him. The girl, whose name has not been released because she is a juvenile, remains in the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center awaiting charges.
Carlson said he picked her up at a housing complex at 1511 Supornick Lane just after midnight. After taking her to an address on West Maynard Drive, the girl said she needed to collect money from her mother for the fare, so Carlson took her purse and cell phone as collateral while he waited for her to return. He was then told the mother did not have money.
"I'm kind of ticked off by now, and I said, 'Pick her up at juvenile hall, I'm gonna take her in for curfew,'" he said.
A knife cut into his neck
That's typical protocol for getting stiffed, Carlson said, and it's easier than filing a police report, which he said generally doesn't result in recovered money, and takes additional time. Carlson said he had turned onto Edgcumbe from Montreal when he felt the kitchen knife cut into his neck. She jumped out of the cab immediately when he grabbed her. Both of them were covered in blood.
"I said, 'You know I'm bringing you in for a curfew violation. Do you realize you're looking at attempted murder now?' It was then that I think it hit her, and she started to cry."
He pinned the girl with his knee while he radioed for help. He was later treated at a local hospital.
St. Paul police said Carlson's story corroborates with what they believe happened in the cab. For the hundreds of rides given daily, attacks on drivers are relatively rare, police spokesman Tom Walsh said.
In Minnesota, there have been several instances of violence against cabbies.
In February, Blue & White/ABC driver Mohd Farahid, 51, was hospitalized after being beaten with a hatchet handle in north Minneapolis.
In February 2007, Green & White driver Jim Moody, 46, was shot to death during a botched robbery in Brooklyn Center; an Omaha man was convicted in his death. In August 2003, Red & White driver Mohamed Ahmed Salah, 28, was fatally shot in Minneapolis; Salvador Pacheco of Anoka was convicted in his death.
According to U.S. Labor Department statistics, more than 100 cabdrivers nationwide were assaulted in 2006.
Carlson, a four-year cabdriver who has also worked in the tow-truck business, said he is no stranger to assaults. This, however, is a first. And hopefully a last, he added.
"We do have a lot of young kids where the parents are gonna pay at the other end, and I don't want to leave a young kid stranded, not in the projects," he said. "But to expect a 15-year-old to come at you with a knife is unreal."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921