Taxi owner arrested

February 17, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -Police charged a Martinsburg man who is already facing a charge of manslaughter with four misdemeanors Friday because he allegedly continued to operate his taxi service despite a state order to stop.

James Clark Owens Sr., 43, of Pennsylvania Avenue, was charged with four counts of violating a Public Service Commission order. Owens operates Elite Taxi in Martinsburg.

Public Service Commission Officer William E. Carper alleged that Owens continued to drive people in a marked taxi although he was ordered to stop because he used "physical violence, threats and intimidation, including the use of handguns, in the course of business," according to court records.


After investigators looked into numerous complaints, Owens was given 10 days, starting Jan. 16, to cease running his business, records show.

Carper spotted Owens in the cab three times on Jan. 28, once on Feb. 10 and once on Feb. 13, records show.

In another case, Owens was charged in January with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the beating of a man who later died. After an argument, Owens allegedly beat Ernest Stevens on Nov. 10, 2002, in the Martinsburg Wal-Mart parking lot.

Stevens, who had a laceration above his eye, a bloody nose and a fractured hip, died Dec. 3, police said.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. Charges of continuing to operate a business despite a state order to stop carry a penalty of 30 days to one year in jail.

Owens is free on $4,000 bail.

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