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Men carjack taxi to NYC

December 01, 2000

Men carjack taxi to NYC



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer


Quick thinking kept a Turner Transportation driver from being abandoned in a dark neighborhood of New York City after two men forced her to take them there from Hagerstown at knifepoint Thursday.

When Lisa Reigh turned off her van and put the ignition key in her pocket, the men demanded the key. Reigh said she reached in another pocket and gave them a set of keys to another van before they left her.

After the men fled, Reigh called her boyfriend for directions and drove herself home.

Reigh, 44, said the ordeal was terrifying, far worse than when money was stolen from her purse by another fare.

"I was terrible last night," she said Friday afternoon after meeting with Maryland State Police.

Reigh barely remembers the ride home.

"Someone else was doing something for me," she said, "because it wasn't me."

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Thursday was the last day that Turner Transportation offered taxi service after 31 years. Friday, the company changed to sedan service, in which customers must phone in requests for rides.

Company owner George Turner said he decided to make the move in part because he was worried about the safety of his drivers. In an interview earlier this week, Turner said he is fed up with having his cabs used to give rides to and from drug deals.

A sedan service has greater leeway in turning down rides.

Reigh picked the two men up at Town Pizza on Franklin Street in Hagerstown at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. She took them to the International House of Pancakes at the Centre at Hagerstown.

The men said they would be needing a ride to the Baltimore area about 45 minutes later, so Reigh called her dispatcher to plan it.

Turner said the trip would cost about $100 or $110, and a driver has to set it up in advance.

When she picked the men up at IHOP a second time, she got on Interstate 81 to get to Interstate 70. But the men - one in the front seat, one in the back - told her to keep going north on I-81.

She asked where they were going. The man in the front seat pulled out a knife and said something like, "We don't have to tell you," Reigh recalled.

The men said little to her, except to give a few directions and make an occasional threat, Reigh said. They turned the radio to a rock station and chatted with each other.

Her terror grew when she looked up after several hours and saw the Statue of Liberty.

Reigh said the men directed her toward a neighborhood that she later learned was near the Bronx. They ordered her to make a series of turns that got her lost.

Then, they left.

Reigh called her boyfriend, Richard Snyder, in Cearfoss, who helped orient her.

Snyder said Reigh was irrational with fear for about 10 minutes before she calmed enough to get herself home. She had $20 with her, enough to fill her gas tank.

Reigh said she has been driving a taxi occasionally so she could buy Christmas presents for her two children.

But she won't drive anymore.

"I'm done," she said.

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