A man forcibly took over a yellow taxi cab in Manhattan on Monday morning, punching the driver in the face and fleeing in the car to New Jersey, where he was eventually arrested, the police in New York said.
It was not clear how the violent encounter began just as the morning rush was getting under way on the busy corner at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue at about 7:20 a.m. The police could not immediately say whether the man, who was not identified, had been a passenger in the cab, or had approached the stopped car from the outside.
After punching the driver, who suffered injuries to the face and was being treated at Bellevue Hospital Center, the man got into the driver’s seat of the cab and drove north on Eighth Avenue, the police said.
At some point, the man made his way to the West Side Highway, the police said, and then across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey. He was arrested by the police in the town of Leonia, about three miles from the bridge and 11 miles from where he took over the cab.
Lt. Thomas Rowe, the leader of the town’s Police Department, said the cab had been tracked using its onboard GPS. When the police located the cab, the man had driven onto the sidewalk of Broad Avenue, a tree-lined downtown street, and was heading toward a central intersection by an elementary school.
“It’s our busiest school crossing,” Lieutenant Rowe said. “Ten minutes later, it would have been a horrible scene.”
Just before the intersection, the cab became stuck between a traffic light pole and the wall of the Leonia Market, a food store, Lieutenant Rowe said. There, the man exited the cab and tried to flee on foot but was tackled by police officers from Leonia and the neighboring town of Palisades Park. At least two officers sustained minor injuries, he said, including one who was head-butted by the man during the arrest.
After his capture, detectives from the 10th Precinct in Manhattan traveled to the town to question the man and to return him to New York to face charges, the police in New York said.