Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cabbie Teaches Taxi To Fly, Lives To Tell About It

I woke up early this morning and, being a red-blooded New Englander, decided to go for a Dunkin Donuts run. At 5:30am, the only other customers were New Bedford EMTs killing time.

Just as I turned up Maxfield Street from Purchase Street on the walk home, I heard an engine rev, tires squeal, and a huge crash from around the corner. I ran back and ... nothing. Empty street. Was I crazy?

But there was a guy across the street holding his bicycle and staring. I said, "Did something happen?" He pointed across the street towards a walkway under the arch of the New Bedford Health Department building. Still, I saw nothing.

I kept walking closer and saw the heavy handrail bent over. I looked down the walkway and it took my brain a second to register what I was seeing. A cab had hit the handrail, gone airborne, and was now resting on its side:

I started dialing 911 and ran up to the back windshield of the cab. I could see the driver curled up against the driver's side door. "Are you OK?" I yelled. "I don't know. I think so," he said.

"I'm calling 911. Stay there," I said and went out in the street to flag down the ambulance. As I was waiting, two other cab drivers pulled over and offered to help.

About two minutes later, the ambulance arrived and the EMTs jumped out ... the same ones I'd seen 10 minutes earlier at Dunkin Donuts. They talked to the cabbie and it seemed like other than a bump on his head, he was OK. He said he'd just picked up his cab for his morning shift when the engine suddenly revved and he lost control. He seemed pretty embarrassed, so I got out of the EMT's way as they figured out the best way to help him out of the cab.

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