MANHATTAN — The man who commandeered a terrified cab driver's vehicle on the Lower East Side and raced through the streets of Greenwich Village and SoHo at 80 mph more than two years ago was sentenced to 11 years in prison Wednesday.
California native Michael Findley, 33, was convicted of robbery, reckless endangerment, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property for hijacking a cab and taking a 25-minute joyride early Feb. 27, 2011.
According to police and the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Findley's crime spree began when he flagged down a taxi at the Bowery and Delancey Street after 3 a.m. When the driver tried to throw Findley out of the cab at East Houston and Lafayette streets, Findley punched the cabbie, climbed into the driver's seat and sped off, leading police on a high-speed chase through red lights and into oncoming traffic.
The nearly half-hour-long chase ended when Findley wrapped the cab around a light pole at Union Square West and East 15th Street.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said Findley deserves the 11-year sentence followed by five years on probation.
“This defendant stole a taxi cab and recklessly sped for more than 30 blocks through the streets of New York, endangering the lives of everyone who had the misfortune to cross his path,” Vance said in a statement. “It is a miracle that no bystanders were seriously hurt that night.”
Findley, who defended himself after discharging his court-appointed attorney, claimed to have an IQ of 165 and told a Manhattan jury he was drunk and under the influence of cocaine at the time of the chase.
“I was drunk! I didn’t have any intentions! I didn’t even want the car," he said, according to the New York Post.
Findley is being held on Rikers Island and is set to be transferred to state prison.