You never know what kind of cab driver you’re going to get in New York City or any other city for that matter. Whether it’s hailing a yellow cab, or Uber, Via, or Lift, it’s the luck of the draw. Sometimes, you’ll have a really pleasant experience, and other times you’ll wonder why you didn’t just walk or take the train.
For the most part, despite how crappy your driver may be, the most important thing is that you get to your destination safely. But, unfortunately, for one young woman living in NYC, she experienced a nightmare when hailing a taxi one summer night. Even though the ordeal left her emotionally scarred, three years later, she finally stood up to her attacker in court…
A Night Out In Williamsburg
A 26-year-old non-profit employee living in New York recalls how she hailed a yellow cab in Williamsburg on May 26, 2011. It was Cinco de Mayo at the time and after working an entire day then getting drinks with friends, it was safe to say she was exhausted.
Yellow Taxi Cab
She got in the first cab that stopped for her and figured there was no harm in taking a little nap on her way to her Manhattan apartment. This decision turned out to be one of the worst she’s ever made…
She Could Never Forget That Night
She describes how flashbacks of that night forced her to leave the city a year later and she wound up moving to the West Coast. To this day, she still struggles on a daily basis with the emotional distress caused by the disturbing ordeal.
Her Worst Nightmare
“I was terrified I wouldn’t make it out alive,” she recalled. “I still have nightmares.” The whole thing was totally traumatic for her, but what actually happened that night?
Woke Up In An Unfamiliar Place
She briefly fell asleep and by the time she woke up, she was a few blocks away from a nightclub, at the corner of Rodney St. and South 1st, in Manhattan. So instead of being taken home, she was taken to a darkened corner where the cab driver allegedly pulled out a knife on her, bound her wrists together with a scarf and blindfolded her.
Treating Her Like Garbage
She was then raped against her will and when the attacker was done with her, he stole her cell phone, $20 cash, and threw her out of the cab while speeding away. By then it was 6 am and she was left with no money and no phone to call for help…
A Difficult Man To Find
To say it was a traumatizing night for this young woman would be an understatement. The woman immediately went to police and the hunt was on for the yellow taxi cab with a rapist driving behind the wheel. But how would they find him if there are nearly 13,000 yellow cabs in the city?
Another Woman Spoke Out
The case initially ran cold for a few months, until September 23 when another woman in Harlem was raped by a cab driver. The woman told police that the rapist put paper towels in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. He also stole her credit card, which is what ultimately led police to him…
Undercover Sting Operation
Using the victim’s credit card record, detectives linked Singh, a cab driver with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, to that attack. Investigators got a partial identification of the cab’s plate and medallion number, then police, along with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, launched an undercover sting operation.
Police tricked Singh by posing as Taxi and Limousine Commission inspectors when they offered Singh a cup of water. They secretly snagged his DNA off the cup, which turned out to be a match…
The DNA Matched
Police matched Singh’s DNA to forensic evidence they recovered and that’s how they nailed him. The case was taken to trial and Gurmeet Singh was believed to have raped two women in 2011.
Lying Under Oath
But in an attempt to be let off without punishment for the horrific crime he committed, Singh insisted that the sex was consensual. Although it was a desperate and outrageous claim, Singh’s father spoke on his son’s behalf saying, “I confidently say that my son cannot do this kind of work.” He continued…
He Belongs To The Sikh Faith
“Never, ever. He’s very religious. He’s very God-fearing,” Dhain Singh said. Dhain was referring to his son belonging to the Sikh faith. Singh’s sister even called her brother, who is a father of two, “a gentle, generous, compassionate human being.” Their statements showed just how little they really knew about their own blood.
Standing Up To Her Attacker
Singh’s first victim was the woman pioneering the lawsuit against him and she wrote a powerful letter to the Brooklyn Supreme Court. “You may have bound, gagged and blindfolded me, but I’m the one who’s speaking now,” she said. “You will be serving time.” She testified how she woke up with the bearded, foul-smelling sicko straddling her after she dozed off in the backseat following a night out in Williamsburg…
The members of the jury deliberated for over a day and some actually bought Singh’s account that the back-seat sex was consensual. “It was tough,” said a 27-year-old juror, who pointed out that the victim was tired and had a few drinks. “You have to be more aware of your surroundings,” she said.
A Chilling Atmosphere In The Courtroom
However, a 61-year-old female juror said of the victim’s testimony, “I was terrified. I thought it was really scary.” “But that wasn’t the worst of it,” the juror added. “I heard things in the jury room that really shocked me,” said the teacher.
The jury eventually agreed that the woman must have passed out and couldn’t have thrown herself at the driver. “I thought, ‘I’m going to get killed,’” the victim recounted through tears.
Struggling To Reach A Verdict
Brooklyn jurors described sitting on the panel as a heart-wrenching experience. “I’m so relieved to be out of there,” one of them said. Despite the numerous disagreements the panel had during deliberations, they finally reached a verdict…
Gurmeet Singh, 42, was guilty and given a 20-year sentence (five years shy of the maximum), all thanks to the brave victim who took the stand against him. He was convicted of rape but acquitted on other counts, including predatory sexual assault and robbery.
More Truth Comes Out
Defense lawyer Collin Moore said that Singh later admitted to paying prostitutes for hanky-panky in his cab. But as far as the cases against him, he argued that the rape was an “aberration.”