Unlicensed Cabbie Welcomes Tourists To New York With High Speed Police Chase

Jean-Jacques Dulugat learned yesterday why you should never let an unlicensed cabbie give you a lift from the airport. Police tried to stop Dulugat and his family as they got into a van driven by a pair of known solicitors, but the duo took off and led cops on a high-speed chase through Brooklyn…

It is further alleged that Port Authority police pursued the van in a marked vehicle with their lights flashing and sirens blaring and were assisted in the chase by at least 10 other police vehicles. During the chase from the airport, the defendants allegedly swerved through traffic, forcing vehicles and pedestrians to jump out of the van’s way, and at times ran stop signs and red lights and traveled at speeds of 60 miles per hour on crowded residential streets.

In the course of the chase, the five tourists ñ Esther Mamane and her mother Claudie Mamane, 60, and Gwenaelle Dulugat and her parents, Michele Dulugat, 61, and Jean- Jacques Dulugat, 62 ñ were allegedly locked in the van and the defendants refused their pleas to stop as they cried and screamed to be let go.

Additionally, it is alleged that when the defendants were confronted by a dead end street, they turned the van into a postal facility at 1050 Forbell St. in the East New York section of Brooklyn and jumped out, fleeing on foot as the vehicle continued to move with their five screaming passengers locked inside.

Rick Seaney has a few tips to help you avoid getting trapped in a runaway cab like the Dulugats:

  • Avoid “gypsy cabs” and other non-licensed vehicles: the legitimate cabs are all lined up at the curb. If your cabbie claims to be licensed, and it’s a hike to his vehicle, he isn’t. By the way, these taxis can cost just as much as the legit ones.
  • Check out the transportation choices before you arrive: JFK, for example, offers many alternatives to taxis including trains and a bus system that takes you directly to Grand Central for $27 roundtrip.
  • Consider a private car service: it need not be a limo – and it can cost just a few bucks more than a taxi fare.

In New York, we ignore Newark and take either the M60 to LaGuardia or the AirTrain to Kennedy. Even with New York’s range of options, it’s still easy to overpay if you’re not careful: take the Long Island Rail Road instead of the subway to the AirTrain and you could end up paying $12 instead of $5.

As for the Dulugat’s, they received an apology from the Mayor’s office, along with free Broadway tickets and passes to the Museum of Modern Art.

DA: JFK Hustlers Held French Tourists Captive [North Country Gazette]
Day after their ride from hell, French family lives American Dream in NYC [NY Daily News via Rick Seaney]