COURAGEOUS CABBIE: Knife to throat three weeks into job
UPDATE: A CAB driver who had a knife held to his throat by a passenger has told he was coming to the end of a 12 hour shift and would not be handing over his hard earned money.
It was just three weeks into his new job as a Bundaberg taxi driver when Jeremy Palethorpe was faced with a life or death situation.
Mr Palethorpe was driving a passenger in his maxi taxi to an address in South Bundaberg about 7.15pm on Wednesday night when a 30cm fishing knife was pushed into his throat.
"He told me he would pay by card and as he leant through to me, he reached in and put the knife around my throat and said 'give me your money or I'll cut your throat'," Mr Palethorpe said.
The 43 year old, who has lived in Bundaberg for three years and was driving trucks before becoming a cabbie, said there was nothing suspicious about the fare until he was told by the passenger to circle the streets.
"I picked him up at the Hinkler Central cab rank, he said he had to pick up his wife and she had a big pram," Mr Palethorpe said.
"He jumped in the back and said he wanted to go to Goodwin St.
"As we drove up the street he looked at a few houses and said she wasn't out the front and asked me to drive around the corner to see if she was at her friends place.
"We went round the corner and sat there for a minute.
"I was a little bit suspicious... at that point I thought it might have been a drug run."
That's when the dramatic situation started to transpire.
Mr Palethorpe said the passenger asked him to drive to Buss St, which was pitch black and had a drain and houses on one side and empty space on another.
"As soon as we got there he asked me if I could break a $100 note," he said.
"I told him no but I had Eftpos.
"At that point I had unclipped my buckle and was ready to jump out because I was a bit suss."
Then, Mr Palethorpe said the knife was thrust at his throat.
But apart from feeling terrified and handing over the money, he said survival instinct kicked in.
"I just grabbed the knife from my throat, by the blade, I sliced my hand as I ripped it away and grabbed him by his hair and tried to pull him into the cab front," he said.
"Then he fought back and somehow wound up going backwards.
"I had the knife in my hand still, he jumped up and opened the door and went to run round the back, so I jumped up and chased him."
Mr Palethorpe said he quickly got back into the taxi and chased after the perpetrator, who he said looked to be in his mid to late 20s, with "scruffy, curly hair".
He disappeared into a nearby drain.
At that point, Mr Palethorpe called his boss, Neil McCloskey, and received medical help for his sliced hand.
Mr McCloskey said news of one of his drivers involved in the frightening incident was shocking.
"It has affected me because he is one of my drivers, he is close to me," he said.
"Bundaberg is normally great, you normally don't have any incidents at all.
"The last time something of this magnitude happened to a local taxi driver was 40 years ago, and the driver was murdered."
Police are still investigating the current incident and said no one had been taken into custody.
They were given footage from the security cameras inside of the maxi taxi that Mr Palethorpe was driving.
The Bundaberg man, who is also a father and husband, said it wasn't the first time he had come face to face with the possibility of death.
"I had a situation a couple of years ago- I was out deep sea fishing with my son in Jarvis Bay and a big wave hit the boat," he said.
"I grabbed my son who was asleep underneath and we swam three hours back to shore.
"My mate who was with us drowned."
As for his latest experience, Mr Palethorpe said it hadn't deterred him from the job.
He said his message for passengers who were going to commit a crime was "don't get in my cab".
"I was at the end of my 12 hour shift and there was no way I was handing over my money to that bloke," he said.
"I worked too damn hard for it."
EARLIER: A BUNDABERG taxi driver who was the victim of an attempted armed robbery managed to disarm the perpetrator of his knife before the criminal fled into the night.
A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said the alleged incident happened last night, about 7.15pm, after the maxi taxi driver picked up a male passenger from the Hinkler Central taxi rank.
"A man got into the taxi and asked the driver to take him to Goodwin St to pick up another female passenger," the QPS spokeswoman said.
"When they realised the female wasn't there, they circled the block into Buss St.
"The man then ordered the taxi driver to stop."
The QPS spokeswoman said it was then the passenger pulled out a knife and demanded money.
But the 43-year-old taxi driver was ready to defend himself.
"The driver grabbed the knife from his hand... there was a struggle and someone received a laceration," the QPS spokeswoman said.
"The taxi driver disarmed the man and he ran into the drainage system."
No one has yet been taken into custody and investigations are continuing.