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Rash of rocks thrown at taxis leaves tourist injured, drivers concerned
A rash of rock throwing incidents aimed at taxis in Winnipeg has drivers scared, frustrated and concerned about safety.
Tarlochan Gill is the chairman of Unicity Taxi Cab Ltd. He said between 50 and 60 vehicles have been damaged this summer, pockmarking doors and lights, and breaking windshields.
The problem has resulted in thousands of dollars in claims, some as high as $1,900, he said.
The company said it's mostly young people throwing the rocks at night.
“These stones are not only unsafe for the drivers, they are unsafe for the customers too," said Gill.
Over a three day period from Jul. 31 to Aug, 2, it happened eight times in different parts of the city.
In one instance, Unicity said people flung beer bottles. In another, a woman from the United States was hit in the head with a rock, which was retrieved by her driver.
Gill said the impact of the stone caused swelling and bleeding.
"The driver complained over here that the customer already got hurt on her head, and even the customer called to notify our manager these types of things are happening in our city,” said Gill.
The city said an ambulance was called and the patient was assessed, but she didn't want to go to hospital.
The Forks tells CTV News it monitors all incidents and this is the first time it's heard of this type of incident.
Some tourists from Minnesota who learned of the rock throwing say they're going keep an eye out.
"Disgusting. It's disgusting that anyone would do that,” said Karen Hammero, who is in Winnipeg to experience Folklorama.
Winnipeg police said they met with the passenger who was struck with the rock.
Police say during the other seven reported incidents over the three day stretch, officers were dispatched, but weren't able to locate any of the suspects.
Duffy’s Taxi is also dealing with rock throwing incidents
A manager with Duffy’s Taxi told CTV News its drivers are also contending with people throwing rocks at their vehicles.
It said most of the instances are happening when cabs use underpasses. It said it’s asking drivers to report damage to Manitoba Public Insurance.
Reporting rock throwing
Unicity hopes the dangerous behaviour can be curbed.
"If these people are charged for hitting the stone and damaging cars, that would really help us a lot,” said Gill.
Police said going forward, drivers should continue to report criminal mischief, damage or injury when it happens.
MPI said the number of taxis hit by rocks is not readily available, as it would be considered a vandalism claim.
It said there are about 10,000 vandalism claims in Manitoba each year.