© Star photo by Cory Hurley
Taxi driver Terrence Hilliard.
The bruises and other marks on his face are slowly fading, but the emotional trauma of allegedly being attacked by a passenger is still evident for a Corner Brook taxi driver.
Terrence Hilliard said he agreed, for an up front fee, to take a passenger to Port aux Basques from Corner Brook Friday evening. Just west of Corner Brook, he says the man accused him of stealing his wallet, and a confrontation ensued.
Hilliard said he placed a 911 call in hopes they would meet him along the way at White’s Road to deal with the unruly passenger. However, he said the attack started while he was still driving near the Gallants junction. He did not make it to the access road to Stephenville.
Hilliard says he managed to stop the car while being struck and was able to get his seatbelt off and get outside. The beating continued there, he said.
Not sure how long and how much of a beating he would endure, he feared for his life. Fortunately, a number of motorists had come upon the scene — one man in particular came to the taxi driver’s defence. Another 911 call was made, and police responded a short time later.
Hilliard, who became emotional when recounting his story, believes the people who cared enough to stop probably saved his life.
“If there is any way to say thank you to those people who stopped ...” he said, choking back tears.
The man who defended him, who he does not know, also cared enough to check on his condition afterwards.
Hilliard has been driving a cab, something he also did years ago, for about four years now with Star Taxi. He said he has kicked people out of his vehicle before because of poor behaviour or fights between customers, but never experienced anything like Friday night’s events.
Although his boss has given him as much times off as he needs, he would like to get back to work as soon as possible.
“How often does anything like this happen? Once in a lifetime,” he said. “He was going to do this to whoever it was, no matter what. It wasn’t because it was me.”
Hilliard said he is hoping to see a doctor soon, wanting to eventually find a way to relax and calm down. He hopes to start sleeping soundly again, and for the nightmares to cease.
He is eying a return to cab driving Friday, but upon further thought realized that is unlikely. He said the wounds and bruises on his face must fully heal first, and expects customers will ask questions. Retelling the story, he said, is both harrowing and upsetting.
Hilliard said he won’t change as a result, but also said he can’t drive at night right now because the lights are too bright for him. He admits he might be a little more cautious about certain passengers, but said he would continue to take out of town fares.
“It’s my job,” he said.
Stanislov Mikhail Kolobanov, 33, is charged with aggravated assault and a breach of probation. He made a brief appearance in weekend wash court, and appeared for a bail hearing in provincial court in Stephenville Tuesday afternoon.
Kolobanov was the same man for whom the Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary issued a missing person report on March 10. It was reported he went missing from Western Memorial Regional Hospital.
Although police were seeking public assistance in locating him, people were urged to use caution if dealing with him. He was described as having a history of mental illness and is delusional and potentially aggressive.
Kolobanov was located, and police had ensured his safety and well-being.