Injured Windsor taxi driver may have permanent vision loss, union says

The Windsor taxi driver who was the victim of an unprovoked attack last Saturday night suffered damage to both eyes from shattered glass, says Unifor Local 195.

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The Windsor taxi driver who suffered an unprovoked attack last weekend suffered eye damage so severe it could be permanent, according to Unifor Local 195.

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“Two surgeries, so far,” said Emile Nabbout, president of Unifor Local 195, which represents about 350 drivers for Veteran Cab.

Vision recovery remains in question, Nabbout said. “One of the eyes, he can’t see at all. The other is blurry.

Nabbout said the incident heightened safety concerns for Unifor Local 195 taxi drivers. A meeting of members was held on Monday evening.

“This is not the first time that our drivers have been victims of some type of violence,” Nabbout noted. “Unknown violence. We don’t know the reason.

Veteran cab vehicles are equipped with protective devices such as bulkheads, video cameras, and audio recording devices.

But they were not enough in this case. “It was unprovoked. There was no conversation or altercation with anyone,” Nabbout said. “No motive.”

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A Veteran Cab vehicle at work in downtown Windsor is shown in this August 2021 photo.
A Veteran Cab vehicle at work in downtown Windsor is shown in this August 2021 photo. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Nabbout said the victim had been a taxi driver in Windsor for about a year.

Police are continuing their investigation into the assault that occurred the night of March 12 around 9:30 p.m. on Erie Street West between Ouellette Avenue and Victoria Avenue.

The adult male taxi driver had pulled over to the side of the street after hearing what sounded like an object hitting his vehicle.

As the taxi was parked, an unknown male suspect approached and violently smashed the window on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

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“It shattered and (the pieces) hit the driver in both eyes,” Nabbout said.

There is little information on who might be responsible. Before the attack happened, the victim saw two men walking in the area – one white, the other possibly black.

The Caucasian suspect was described as around 5ft 10in tall, appearing to be in his 20s and wearing a black tracksuit. He had short, black hair.

Windsor Police have since determined that two vehicles were in the area at the time of the incident – one a white four-door sedan, the other a dark colored four-door sports SUV.

These vehicles are not considered suspect vehicles, but investigators hope that their occupants witnessed something that could help the investigation.

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Footage of two vehicles whose occupants may have witnessed details of a serious assault on Erie Street West in Windsor on the night of March 12, 2022.
Footage of two vehicles whose occupants may have witnessed details of a serious assault on Erie Street West in Windsor on the night of March 12, 2022. Photo by Windsor Police Service /Windsor Star

Anyone with information or potential video evidence regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Major Crimes Unit at 519-255-6700 ext. 4830.

Anonymous tips can be made via Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 or www.catchcrooks.com.

Nabbout said its members deserve to be able to work without fear for their well-being. “They don’t plan for something like this to happen to them when they go to work and try to earn a paycheck to support their family.”

“Yes, there is a risk associated with this type of business. But our drivers continue to serve the community, as they always have.

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