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Ambassador taxi drivers wait for fares outside Union Station in Toronto, May, 2011. Startup company Uber has since come to the city, and it uses mobile technology to bypass a cab dispatch system that’s still rooted in the era of operators and pay phones. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Ambassador taxi drivers wait for fares outside Union Station in Toronto, May, 2011. Startup company Uber has since come to the city, and it uses mobile technology to bypass a cab dispatch system that’s still rooted in the era of operators and pay phones. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

Toronto taxi driver stabbed in the head by passenger, police say Add to ...

An 18-year-old man has been charged with robbery, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after a cab driver was attacked Wednesday night by a knife-wielding passenger who then hijacked the taxi, police said.

The driver picked up a fare at Gerrard Street East and Jones Avenue at around 8 p.m., police said, and drove to an address near Lake Shore Boulevard West.

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On arrival, the passenger pulled a knife and from the back seat stabbed the driver, who managed to escape and collapsed by the roadside, police said. His attacker then allegedly drove away in the cab.

A driver who noticed the altercation pulled over, gave first aid to the injured driver and called 911.

The taxi was discovered abandoned a short distance away, and the alleged attacker, who fled on foot, was arrested without incident shortly afterward, just south of Lake Shore Boulevard.

Tylor Duhamel was to appear in court Thursday on the multiple charges.

The unnamed cab driver was stabbed in the back of the head, suffering multiple lacerations, but was released from hospital Thursday morning.

“He got really lucky,” said Detective Constable Benjamin Tonogai of 22 Division. “This could have turned out a lot differently. It could have been a lot worse.”

Police plan to give an award to the citizen who found the taxi driver lying by the road and called police.

“If it wasn’t for that person stopping and giving first aid – stopping the bleeding – and then calling us, (the driver) could have very easily bled to death,” Det. Constable Tonogai said.

The iTaxiworkers Association, a Toronto lobby group claiming close to 1,000 members, said it was pleased at the quick arrest but urged that more be done  to protect cab drivers, citing Statistics Canada data indicating the profession is one of the most dangerous.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," association president Sajid Mughal said of the driver.

“The iTaxiworkers is demanding tougher penalties for criminals who commit violent acts against taxi drivers.”

No cab driver should accept a fare if there is a safety concern, Mr. Mughal added.

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