Taxi Took D.C. Man for a Ride, but Not Far

By Lacharite, Gretchen | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Taxi Took D.C. Man for a Ride, but Not Far


Lacharite, Gretchen, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Edrick Debreaux left his company Christmas party in high spirits, but his evening turned into a nightmare after he finally caught a cab to take him from Old Town Alexandria to the District.

The coveted ride was cut short after the cabdriver, who accepted a $25 prepaid fare, kicked him out a few blocks away and summoned police, who arrested Mr. Debreaux.

During a hearing last Friday at Alexandria General District Court, prosecutors dropped the only charge against Mr. Debreaux, public intoxication, a misdemeanor.

"You leave a Christmas party in a good mood, and the next thing you know you're in a holding cell with other people, with criminals," said Mr. Debreaux, 22.

This week, he filed a complaint with the Alexandria Taxicab Commission against the Alexandria Diamond Cab Co. and the unidentified driver who accepted the fare but kicked him out.

Alexandria police said they asked the taxi commission last Friday to investigate.

Robert R. Hoar, the cab company's president, said he couldn't respond to Mr. Debreaux's account because he had not received a formal complaint.

"As soon as we get a formal complaint, we'll be happy to address the issue," Mr. Hoar said. "If we have a bad driver out there, he will be gone. Without a formal complaint, there isn't much I can do."

Mr. Debreaux, a laborer at Atlantic Co. of America Inc., a construction company in Old Town, said his good-byes, shook hands and tucked his presents - a cooler and a Sony AM-FM clock radio - under his arm before he left the Old Dominion Boat Club on King Street to hail a taxi for the ride to his home on Kansas Avenue NW.

Neatly dressed for the Dec. 13 holiday soiree, he tried to hail a cab, but one taxi after another passed him by. A colleague tried to help him, but Mr. Debreaux said the cabdrivers would slow down, take a look at him and drive away.

"I was wondering why they weren't stopping," said Mr. Debreaux, who is black.

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