Monday, April 18, 2011

San Francisco cabbie jailed in brawl with passenger

Off the meter: A Luxor taxi driver battled an unruly passenger in the street and ended up being put behind bars.

An outraged San Francisco cabbie says he spent a weekend in jail after winning a fight against a passenger who threatened and attacked him.

Luxor driver Troy Nicholson, 46, was locked up from Friday to Monday after the early morning brawl at Turk and Larkin streets on April 8. The brawl stemmed from a dispute over the route Nicholson had taken, police said.

The fight began in the cab but spilled out onto the street. At its peak, the men jousted with pieces of a metal street sign, police said.

Nicholson eventually got the upper hand, "striking the passenger several times over the head" with the metal piece, knocking him unconscious, according to the police.

The passenger was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. Nicholson was jailed. The passenger wasn’t arrested, though witnesses told police he threatened Nicholson and struck him with the metal sign.

Although both parties delivered blows, Nicholson inflicted more damage and was arrested, Lt. Troy Dangerfield said. Police arrest either the aggressor or the person using the most force, Dangerfield said.

"When they’re dueling, they’re equals," he said. "If you hit me on the arm, and I hit you on the arm, no foul. If I kick you in the leg, and you take my eye out, not fair."

The cabbie was released from custody the morning of April 11. Prosecutors declined to charge him in the case, according to Charisse Russell, Nicholson’s wife.

Nicholson is now consulting his lawyer, saying he was unjustly jailed for defending himself. He fears the incident could affect his job. On his attorney’s advice, he declined to discuss specifics of the incident.

However, his wife said the passenger was an irate intoxicated "jerk" who started the fight, kicked the back of the seats, and vandalized the cab after being told to get out.

After he "attacked my husband with the metal street sign," Russell said Nicholson grappled with him over the sign.

Dangerfield said the sign "broke in two" during the fight.

Nicholson said he hopes surveillance tapes at the federal building will help prove that he did not deserve to spend a weekend in jail.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

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