Abdurazak Farah: Case of the Crazed Taxi Driver & The Terrified Woman
Sometimes it is just better to stay home.
Daisy Sanchez Garcia can tell you the wisdom in that sentiment.
In Oct. 2008, a series of unfortunate minor events turned a fun night out in Anaheim into a real life nightmare that caused Garcia to frantically leap from the window of a moving taxi cab near the intersection of the 55 and 5 freeways.
The evening began with Garcia giving her driver's license to an Anaheim bowling alley employee to reserve a lane for herself and her boyfriend, Raul Lopez. But Garcia and Lopez never bowled. After waiting two hours, they discovered the employee forgot their reservation and, worse, lost her driver's license.
Garcia's night was quickly spiraling out of control.
Danielle Le, the bowling alley's assistant manager, apologized and promised to pay for the couple's ride home to Irvine in A-Taxi, which had a contract with the business.
But a security guard accidentally ushered them to a Yellow Cab taxi driven by Abdurazak Farah, who was in a foul mood.
When they reached Irvine after a 25-minute trip, Farah demanded payment. Garcia and Lopez were shocked and outraged. They believed the driver was trying to double dip because the bowling alley manager had promised to pay the bill.
When they refused to surrender cash, Farah locked the doors to the backseat. Yelling ensued. Lopez eventually climbed out of a window and attempted to pull his girlfriend out of the window too.
But Farah sped off, dragging Lopez for a distance and began a dueling match with a horrified Garcia. She pressed the button to lower the window and he pressed the button to close it as he drove on the 405 and 55 freeways.
Garcia tried to explain what had happened at the bowling alley and, in hopes of ending the nightmare, promised to pay him all the cash she was carrying. The offer apparently wasn't good enough. The driver wanted more, said he wouldn't stop and drove north on the 55 in the direction of Riverside County, according to court records.
Believing that she was going to be raped, Garcia leaped out of the 55-mph cab, struck her head on concrete and suffered bloody wounds that required surgery.
Farah wasn't finished. He stopped his cab, got out and began walking towards her.
When another vehicle pulled over, he got back in the taxi and sped away.
Police quickly found him and he claimed that he was unaware that Garcia wanted to exit his cab.
Orange County prosecutors didn't buy the story. They charged Farah with kidnapping and false imprisonment. At trial, he claimed that he wanted to call police about the fare but that his cell phone battery had died. It didn't help his cause that a police officer testified that the cell phone was working minutes after the incident.
A jury found Farah guilty and Superior Court Judge Daniel Barrett McNerney sentenced him to five years in prison, but suspended the punishment on the condition that he serve a 365-day jail sentence.
In his appeal, the 39-year-old Farah argued that he was innocent of all the charges and that instead of kidnapping he had made a citizen's arrest of Garcia for trying to steal a cab ride. Alternatively, he argued that there was no proof that Garcia wanted to exit the cab.
A three-justice panel at a California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled this week that there was "overwhelming" evidence of Farah's guilt and that his claims otherwise were not reasonable.
"No evidence showed the defendant intended to turn Garcia over to the authorities upon his receipt of the total amount of the cab fare," the opinion states. "No evidence showed the defendant ever attempted to contact law enforcement during or after the incident."
As for Farah's claim that he thought Garcia wanted to be in the taxi was ridiculous given the fact that she jumped out of the moving vehicle.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
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