NEWS

Taxi driver calls for more protection after knife attack

03/15/2013 04:17 EDT | Updated 05/15/2013 05:12 EDT
A 56-year-old Toronto taxi driver who was repeatedly stabbed by one of his passengers this week is calling for more protective measures to prevent these violent incidents from happening.

Mohamed Sourour told CBC News he believes there should be a Plexiglas wall inside the cab to separate the driver and the passengers.

He is still recovering at home, but once his wounds heal, Sourour plans to go back behind the wheel of a cab.

"I will always be scared to do it, but I will do it," he told CBC News. "I will have to do it. I have no choice. I just have no choice."

Sourour's ordeal began at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night, when he picked up man near Gerrard Street East and Jones Avenue. He said it started like any other fare.

"The guy was quiet, he had a little dog," he said. "He was just sort of petting his dog, and he slowly moved behind me, directly behind me."

The passenger asked him to drive to a location near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Brown's Line, and directed him to an alleyway.

"So when I went behind the alleyway, he just started stabbing my head, just viciously, repeatedly stabbing me," Sourour said.

He managed to escape the cab, and the suspect took off in his taxi. Dripping blood, Sourour ran to Lake Shore Boulevard West. His hands were slashed, and he was stabbed in the back of the head seven times.

Sourour was rushed to hospital, and about an hour after the attack his assailant was arrested by police.

An 18-year-old Toronto man has been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and robbery in connection with the attack late Wednesday.

The assault has renewed calls for better safety measures for taxi drivers.

Sajid Mughal, the president of the Taxi Workers Association, says it's "one of the most dangerous jobs" and wants passengers to pay a deposit up front while riding at night.

"That may reduce the crime in the cab as well. If the person doesn't have the money, they won't get in the cab in the first place," he said.

Sourour said Wednesday's brutal attack was not his first.

"Some guy hit me on the head with a bottle one time because I told him he couldn't drink beer in my cab," he said.

However, these incidents aren't enough to deter him from returning to the job, he says.

"As crazy as it seems, I still have to do it. I have to feed my children, I have to raise my kids. I have to work."

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