A 47-year-old cab driver was carrying three passengers in the Bronx, New York City, when two teenagers ambushed his cab and assaulted three passengers at a red light.
The accused attackers, Juan Carlos Sanchez and Kenneth Guzman, both 17, reportedly viciously attacked Richard Deleon and his passengers with a machete.
The teens were arrested near the cab and charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment. But soon after being arrested, one of them was released on $200 bail.
The attackers reportedly opened the door of the cab and started waving a machete towards the passengers. When one of them leapt toward a young female passenger, Deleon attempted to rescue her. He was successful in saving the woman, but unfortunately he lost his own thumb.
“It happened very fast,” the Spanish speaking driver said explaining his ordeal during a press conference on Sunday outside the Bronx district attorney's office. “I tried to stop the attackers,” reported the NYDailyNews.
Sanchez allegedly cut one of the female passengers violently with a machete before Deleon said he desperately pulled him away. “I raised my hand and they were aiming at my head with the machete and instead they took my (right thumb),” he said.
Fernando Mateo, the head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, told reporters the judge allowed Guzman to walk free too quickly and on too low of a bail, when compared with the atrocious criminal accusations against him.
“The biggest crime in this case was committed by the judge who released one of these guys on $200 bail after they slashed three or four people and could have killed someone,” he said.
“That’s one of the most frustrating things,” said sister, Fary Deleon. “We just want justice. Those kids are still out there and they may be able to hurt somebody else.”
One of the passengers reportedly received 14 stitches, but according to Mateo it could have been worse had it not been for Deleon’s heroic rescue.
“To us he is a hero because if it wasn't for him and his intervention, God knows if someone would've been killed,” said Mateo.
“It’s unfair to all of us as citizens of New York to have to deal with people chopping other people’s fingers off, slashing other people and getting away with it,” said Jose Viloria, president of the NYSFTD.
According to Mateo, after being released Guzman posted on Facebook how happy he was to be home for Thanksgiving dinner. He has now deleted the post and claims the police have wrongfully arrested him along with his friend trying to make them look “like animals.”
However, Mateo had already saved screenshots.
Deleon, who was naturally shaken up after this incident, is unable to drive a cab anymore to support his family.
”He’s very depressed. He’s from one doctor to another, the finger doesn’t stop bleeding,” Mateo translated for the driver. “It’s traumatizing. He’s missing a limb.”
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Lucas Jackson