Taxi kicks out rider to pick up celebrity, police told
The Park City Police Department received an unusual complaint in the early hours of Monday reportedly involving a taxi driver, the taxi’s passengers and a call for the taxi to pick up a celebrity.
According to Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, a Philadelphia man called 911 at 12:28 a.m. to lodge a complaint about the taxi driver. Ryan said the man who called 911 told the emergency dispatchers the taxi driver ordered him and his friends out of the vehicle while they were on Main Street.
The taxi driver had received a message to pick up a celebrity just before the people were ordered out of the vehicle, the police were told. The police were unsure of the name of the celebrity.
Ryan said the person who contacted the authorities claimed the taxi driver grabbed a girl who was a passenger with him in an effort to force them out of the vehicle. The taxi dispatcher could be heard telling the driver to order them out of the taxi so the celebrity could be picked up, the police were told.
Ryan acknowledged it would be difficult to substantiate the claims against the driver and the taxi dispatcher. The Police Department did not further investigate the case.
The taxi company disputes the claims.
Ryan said the case did not warrant a call to 911. Claims like those against the taxi driver should have been reported to the Police Department’s regular line, he said.
"We like 911 to be for (an) emergency, life-threatening types of calls," Ryan said. "This was not a life-threatening call . . . 911 was not the appropriate way to contact the police on this."
Ryan, though, acknowledged that the number to the Police Department’s regular line would not be readily available to people from outside of Park City.
Sundance is typically the busiest stretch of the year for taxi drivers, and sometimes drivers from elsewhere obtain taxi licenses so they are able to shuttle people exclusively during the festival.
Numerous taxis have been seen during the festival looking for passengers on Main Street and other places popular during Sundance.
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