It is unfortunate but true that most victimized cabbies are rookies, and in this case, the 46 year old driver murdered in Mount Vernon, Washington, Lisa Marie Eason, had only been driving for Anacortes, Washington-based Mert's Taxi , a small three car company, for just a few weeks. Why licensing authorities continue to think that anyone can drive a taxi minus any and all serious preparation remains a mystery because indisputable evidence screams otherwise. In NYC in the mid-1980s the annual taxi driver murder rate averaged over fifty cabbies shot down and stabbed. One of our last murdered Seattle taxi driver had been working for just over a year, leaving behind a wife and two children. We now can add Ms. Eason to the list of victimized cabbies, victimized by both the murderer and the unthinking and nonsensical licensing system itself. I have said it before and I repeat it again. It is unjust and immoral to insert untrained drivers into what is an inherently dangerous work environment. Again, City and County and State officials need to be more responsible, it is as simple as that. Do I think this new tragedy will suddenly make them more aware and responsive? No!
The man who allegedly shot Eason in the head with a 45 caliber revolver, Solomona Fatu Luteru, appears not be particularly bright nor devious. Security cameras at the Swinoish Casino shows Luteru entering Eason's taxi. After killing Eason, Luteru forcibly pushed a female driver out of her Toyota Camry and drove south to Lakewood, Washington. Thankfully he failed to notice that there were more than one "live" cellular telephones in the car, allowing police to track him to near to where they ultimately found him, still wearing a white blood-splattered T-shirt and processing the actual gun used in the two crimes. He is being held under a one-million dollar bail.
Surviving family members are currently seeking funeral costs through "gofundme.com." Donate please what you can. We are one taxi family. On my various travels, the driver "lights up" when I identify myself as a fellow cabbie, clearly acknowledging our shared reality, that being the "deranged" occupation we all share. Always "know" who gets in your cab. Don't allow yourself to be surprised by what should be obvious. One way or the other, "trouble" always communicates their hidden agendas. "Read" that face, your very survival dependent upon reading all situations properly. "Taxi illiteracy" can be fatal.
Editorial note: Most of the information contained in this posting was taken from local and national news services. I have spoken to a Mert's dispatcher. I am awaiting a call from the company owner.