A city cab driver who was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment after a female passenger claimed he refused to let her out early Sunday morning is telling a different story, and says the incident erupted when the 24-year-old refused to pay the fare. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
It all started just after 4 a.m. Sunday outside Lavo Nightclub in Midtown, when Hannah Forbes, 24, hailed a cab driven by Sylla Cellou and wanted to head to her friend's home in the South Bronx. They arrived just around the corner from Forbes' friend's apartment. Cellou said he thought that was the final destination.
"At that point, he basically did a U-turn, went back up on the FDR and wouldn't stop," Forbes said. "I was screaming and I was pleading for him. I told him I'd give him all my money and my jewelry."
Cellou locked the cab and got on the FDR, so Forbes said she took matters into her own hands.
"I kicked out the window, and I stood on the chair of the car, and I was waving, to hope that somebody driving on the FDR would stop and realize that I was needing help," she said. "But nobody stopped, so I threw my bag out the window and I slid down out the window."
Cellou said that's not the case at all. He said he had taken Forbes to the destination she said. He said she said it was the wrong place and then gave him other destinations. He said she refused to pay him the $27 fare. That's when he said he told her he was taking her to a police precinct.
"I said, 'OK, now pay me. You asked me for a destination. We here. You have to pay me,'" Cellou said. "She said no, she's not going to pay me. And when she said she's going to put me in trouble, I said, 'OK, now I'm going to take you to the precinct.'"
Cellou said Forbes hit him with her shoe. He said he locked the car because Forbes was trying to jump out.
"She tried to jump out the cab while I'm driving," he said. "I can't stop in the middle of the FDR."
Forbes said she had some scratches when she got out of the cab, but was otherwise fine. Both Forbes and Cellou said they called the police for help.
Ultimately, Cellou was arrested and charged with unlawful imprisonment and unlicensed driving, charges he strongly denies. He's due back in court in May.