AUSTIN (KXAN) - An arrest has been made in the case of a 64-year-old Austin cab driver who was placed in a chokehold, punched, his hair pulled and verbally threatened with racial slurs by a customer in June, according to police.
Police originally charged Dustin Rowden with public intoxication on June 10, but added a charge of injury to a disabled individual Wednesday.
Police said Rowden was a fare for a Yellow Cab driver around 1 a.m. on June 10 when he asked to be taken to William Cannon Drive.
According to an affidavit, the cab driver began driving south on Interstate 35 when Rowden allegedly started yelling at the driver to get out of the moving vehicle. The driver told police that Rowden was noticeably intoxicated and seemed very angry. They continued driving on I-35 at about 65 miles per hour when police say Rowden grabbed a large clump of the cab driver's hair and slammed his head into the steering wheel and punched the driver in the right side of the head two times. The two struggled and police then say Rowden grabbed hold of the wheel and began swerving into traffic, nearly striking an oncoming 18-wheel semi-truck.
According to the police report, Rowden repeatedly told the driver to get out of the vehicle, verbally abused the driver with racial slurs and threatened to kill him. The driver told police that Rowden could probably tell he was from the Middle East because of his accent.
The driver, who suffers from severe arthritis and walks with a cane, was able to slow the car down and safely exit the vehicle but the struggle continued. Some bystanders were able to get a hold of Rowden and keep him still as the driver called police.
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