2 Investigators: City Vows To Crack Down On Dangerous Cabbies

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CHICAGO (CBS) — They are terrorizing your streets, in the car next to you -– or even driving your cab.

Now, the city of Chicago is vowing to crack down on dangerous taxi drivers, 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.

Passenger Michelle Crayton had no time before her cabdriver crashed into a building last June. Hector Placencia was killed as he walked to work.

His attorney, Larry Ruder, has a tape of what the cab driver apparently did.

“He accelerates to get around the slow moving traffic but loses control at a high rate of speed and literally careens off the roadway, killing my client,” Ruder said.

The cab driver, Yao Ofori, pleaded not guilty to tickets for driving too fast for conditions.

He declined comment to CBS 2.

While making a turn, Ofori hit another pedestrian in 2007. But She gave Ofori a break by not testifying and warned him, “Please don’t do this again. This is my gift to you — don’t squander it.”

Ofori has had 34 violations, with 14 convictions.     

Crayton, the passenger who was injured, wonders why he’s still on the street.

It happens because many of the tickets – sometimes, most of them — get dismissed because the complaining witness is not in court. Typically that’s the police officer who wrote them.

Take the case of taxi driver Mohammed Ahmed.

He’s gotten 63 tickets since 1999, with just 14 convictions. He says he’s not an unsafe driver, but now he’s charged with failing to yield the right of way to 86-year-old Cora Kier as she crossed the street.

“He just plowed into her and ran her down like she wasn’t even there,” witness Mary Roberts said.

Kier died from her injuries.

The crashes underscore another problem, says Michelle Crayton’s attorney.    

“What is most outrageous is that the vast majority of cabs on the road today have the same level of insurance that they had 23 years ago,” he said.

That level of insurance is $350,000 per incident, the minimum required by the city. That won’t cover the medical costs for Crayton’s broken arm, hip, leg and back. 

Now, a citywide review of rules and ordinances for cabs is underway to update them, including the $350,000 insurance minimum.

A cab driver with three or more convictions for moving violations in the past year will no longer get his license renewed.

The city’s working to set up an electronic notification process to quickly get police information about tickets and accidents.

More from Pam Zekman
  • Remedy

    Why would CPD show up to court? They are busy getting tickets themselves, like the one a few weeks ago who had 62 tickets and got booted! Times are tough I guess. Even for the cops!!!

  • Ed Schneider

    I remember a few years ago I was driving home from work at like 4am, and I was driving through an intersection (I had the green light of course) and I was almost t-boned by a taxi that was flying down Clark Street and ran the red light.

    Also, another friend of mine was sexually harassed by a cab driver back in 2007, to a physical extent, and when he called to report it, he was called a liar. Its about time those Cab Drivers get a crack down.

  • KJ

    Last week, asked my wife why she and her husband (I) did not have any children. He said you need to have children; you are too old not to have children. This really hurt my wife, as she was leaving the fertility doctor, which turned out this attempt failed. My wife cried that night after realizing this attempt failed He did not know, but an example of the jerks out there making the good, hard working cab driver look bad.

    • KJ

      A cabbie I ment

  • witness

    Cab and Limo drivers are the worst,how many times have been cut off by one
    how many times have you seen them throw Litter from the vehicle.
    You should see how they act at O`Hare.

  • Bob Hamilton

    These cab drivers should be the very best drivers on the road, with the most stringent traffic violation requirements to meet. However, the city of Chicago is actually encouraging and training them to be reckless and unprofessional by managing the system the way it has been run.

  • Roberta Waker

    Time to crack down on these dangerous drivers. More than three violations in 12 months should result in a suspension; six in two years, revoke their license; if caught driving with a revoked, take them off the road via jail time. It’s time to get these idiots off the road BEFORE they kill people not AFTER.

    • OLD VET


  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/09/23/2-investigators-one-cabbie-116-tickets/ 2 Investigators: One Cabbie, 116 Tickets « CBS Chicago

    […] the 2 Investigators previously disclosed, many of those traffic tickets are dismissed because police officers who wrote the tickets is not in …. A city Law Department spokesman said that’s often because they are on furlough, vacation or have […]

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