Sunday, July 22, 2001

Robber forgot commandment

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 36-year-old Price Hill taxi driver feels lucky to be alive after a Bible-carrying, scripture-quoting passenger stole his cab at gunpoint.

        Rodney Jones said he plans to start carrying two guns to work as a driver for Skyline Taxi and is considering getting out of the business. He has never carried a weapon at work before.

        “I'm never getting in a situation like that again,” said the father of five. “It wasn't too good.”

        Mr. Jones, who has been driv ing a cab for about a year, said he has felt unsafe picking up pas sengers in downtown since the April riots. He said he wishes the city would allow cages to protect cab drivers.

        Mr. Jones said he didn't feel threatened when he picked up a man after 1 a.m. Saturday at 12th and Main streets.

        “The man had a Bible in hand and said, "We are all brothers in God's eye,'” said Mr. Jones. “I thought he was a priest.”

        Police say the passenger put a choke hold on Mr. Jones while he held a gun to his right cheek.

        When Mr. Jones handed over $150, the passenger punched him in the ribs and told him to get out of his cab. Police said the passenger drove off, only to crash into a parked car on Vaughn Street in Corryville. He ran to another cab and tried to pull the driver out and steal that one.

        But that cab driver was armed, shooting a warning shot into the air. The passenger ran, was cornered by police at 217 E. University Ave. and was arrested after being sprayed with a chemical irritant.

        Police charged Isiah D. Crutcher Jr., 37, of 127 E. Clifton Ave., Over-the-Rhine, with aggravated auto robbery and attempted auto robbery.


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