Mon | Sep 16, 2019

Taxi Terror - Cops probe road rage incident that left Cuthbert Flynn traumatised

Published:Saturday | August 24, 2019 | 12:22 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter
Juliet Cuthbert Flynn

One lawmaker last week came face-to-face with the terror on the roadways caused by rowdy taxi drivers, and the incident has left her traumatised.

Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, the celebrated Olympian and member of parliament (MP) for St Andrew West Rural, recounted to The Gleaner yesterday how a taxi driver, without any provocation, used his car to block the roadway before charging towards her vehicle with “a kitchen knife that was about six inches long”.

“It was terrifying. I was hysterical. My daughter kept asking, ‘Mommy, why are you crying?’ because I was bawling in the car,” she said.

According to Cuthbert Flynn, the incident occurred in Portmore, St Catherine, last Friday and was witnessed by her three-year-old daughter.

The first-term lawmaker reported that she was driving along Port Henderson Road, near Naggo Head, when she was forced to apply the brakes because the vehicle in front was about to turn into a gas station.

She said the taxi operator, who was driving behind, glared at her before he created a third lane on the soft shoulder to the left of her vehicle and sped up.

Threw bottle

Cuthbert Flynn said she thought nothing of it until about 100 metres down the road when the taxi suddenly began swerving across the road.

“And then he slows down and I just saw this bottle coming towards my car … . He threw this [plastic] bottle [containing water] towards my car,” she recounted.

The lawmaker said she dialled 119 to report the incident and was directed to get the registration plate.

The St Andrew West Rural MP said police investigators later told her that they visited the address to which the registration plate was traced and were told “nobody who lives there owns a taxi”.

She said that as she approached the roundabout, in the vicinity of the old Forum Hotel, she noticed that the taxi operator had stopped his car “in a manner that I had to slow down”.

“By the time I approached his car, his car door was wide open in the road, and as he saw me, he started running towards my car,” Cuthbert Flynn told The Gleaner. “I look to my right, I see him coming. I see this knife coming towards my window and I immediately look down to make sure that my windows are up and my doors are locked because my daughter was in the car, and I started screaming.

“Is when I recognised that he was close to the window that I pressed the gas. By this time, I was hysterical,” she added.

Cuthbert Flynn said that she is still puzzled by the driver’s rage.

“There was no collision. I don’t know if he thought I was bad-driving him because I stopped to let the car turn right [into the gas station],” she surmised.

Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, who heads the police’s Corporate Communications Unit, has confirmed that an investigation is now under way into the incident.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com