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Drunk Hijacks Cab, Injures 5 in Joyride Across Manhattan, Police Say

By Noah Hurowitz | April 19, 2016 5:37pm
 A drunk Bronx man stole a yellow cab in Gramercy on Sunday and drove it to the Manhattan Bridge, leaving a trail of destruction behind him, police said.
A drunk Bronx man stole a yellow cab in Gramercy on Sunday and drove it to the Manhattan Bridge, leaving a trail of destruction behind him, police said.
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GRAMERCY — A Bronx man went on a wild, drunken joyride down Second Avenue with a stolen yellow cab, crashing into numerous cars and sending nearly half a dozen people to the hospital, according to police.

Miguel Batiz, 26, of Williamsbridge, threatened to slash a yellow cab driver who had picked him up in Gramercy shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday, before stealing the cab and careening drunkenly the wrong way across the Manhattan Bridge, leaving a trail of destruction that injured at least five people, including a coworker with whom Batiz had originally hailed the cab, police said.

The mayhem began at 6:22 a.m. at the corner of East 21st Street and Second Avenue, where Batiz and his friend hailed a cab and asked to be taken to the Bronx. The driver became nervous when Batiz gave him a route that didn’t go to that borough, police said.

Batiz became enraged, opened the partition, and grabbed the driver by the collar, telling him, “Drive me where I tell you to go,” according to a police report.

In response, the driver pulled over to the side of Second Avenue at the corner of East 18th Street and put on his hazard lights, which only upset the belligerent passenger more, police said.

Batiz got out of the cab, yanked open the front passenger door, and began punching the driver and threatened to cut him with a knife, motioning to his waistband where the driver believed he had stored the weapon, according to a police report.

Batiz then put the driver in a headlock and decided to take matters into his own hands, police said.

“If you won’t drive me then I’ll drive myself,” Batiz said, according to a report.

Batiz pulled the driver out of the cab, hopped into the seat and took off, police said.

After going just three blocks, Batiz smashed into another car, injuring the three people inside and sending the vehicle crashing into a parked car at East 15th Street and Second Avenue, according to police.

Batiz then continued south on Second Avenue, eventually catching the attention of two police officers as he started driving toward Brooklyn, against traffic, across the Manhattan Bridge, police said. On his way across the bridge he slammed into two more cars and finally rammed another yellow cab, injuring the driver of that taxi, according to a police report.

That's when Batiz finally pulled the stolen cab to the side of the road, and officers found him red-eyed and reeking of alcohol, with his coworker unconscious in the backseat, according to a report.

His coworker, who was not charged, was taken to a hospital, police said. The nature of his injuries was not immediately clear.

At the scene of the crash on the Manhattan Bridge, Batiz admitted he had been drinking and was arrested after he blew a .11 on a breathalyzer, three points above the legal limit of .08, according to a criminal complaint.

All of the people harmed during the rampage were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Prosecutors charged Batiz with grand larceny, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident, according to court records. A judge released him without bail pending a June 22 court date, records show.

Batiz’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.