An overnight knife attack on a Yellow Cab company driver on the city’s Northwest Side has other cabbies in San Antonio proceeding with extra caution.
San Antonio police arrested a 21-year-old man who they believe slashed Steve Chavez, 35, across the neck.
Officers responded to a 911 call around 2:30 a.m. Friday and found Chavez at the Woodlawn Ranch Apartment Homes in the 300 block of W. Cheryl Drive.
Police told them the suspect was one of four men who he drove to that location in his taxi cab.
He told officers after two of the men got out of the cab, the suspect remained in the front seat and bent over, appearing to be sick.
When he asked him to open the door and get out, the suspect attacked him, police said.
Paramedics bandaged Chavez’s wound, but he declined to be taken to a hospital, police said.
According to John Bouloubasis, president of Yellow Cab company, Chavez had picked up the group after they flagged him down on a street.
He said his staff “reacted immediately” when they realized Chavez was in trouble, and summoned police who also responded quickly.
Bouloubasis said he was scheduled to me with Chavez at some point Friday morning.
In the meantime, news of the attack spread to other cabbies, driving home the dangers they face all the time.
"Every day, we are risking our lives simply because the customers are sitting behind you and they’re in control,” said Gabriel Iqab, who also works for Yellow Cab. "You are driving and the customer could have a knife or a gun."
Iqab said he has been robbed in the past by people with both guns and knives.
He said it’s a situation with a very unpredictable ending.
“They just cut you off, cut your neck or shoot you because you saw his face,” Iqab said.
Hector Garcia, president of the Alamo City Drivers Association, said he reminds cabbies of the potential danger all the time.
However, he said after the latest attack, he received only part of the information by way of his cab’s computer.
"They didn't really say what happened to the driver or anything. They said he's just been, basically, robbed,” Garcia said.
While they face danger every day, the cabbies said hearing about someone else actually facing trouble, makes it a reality.
"We basically just tell them, 'You just got to be careful out there and you've got to be aware of your surroundings,'” Garcia said.