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Briefly In Public Safety

November 18, 2006

Cab driver wanted in attempted sexual assault

Costa Mesa police are investigating a sexual assault reported Thursday by a Dana Point woman after a cab driver allegedly attempted to rape her in the early morning hours outside Club Roc on Placentia Avenue and West 17th Street.

The 23-year-old woman hailed a cab after leaving the bar with a friend around 3 a.m., Sgt. Marty Carver said. Upon picking her up, the cab driver allegedly said he wanted to take her home with him.

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The woman became uncomfortable and got out of the cab. She dialed 411 and was connected to a local cab company where she ordered a different ride, Carver said. While she was waiting, the same cab pulled up. When the victim started to get in the car, she realized it was the same driver, Carver said.

When she attempted to get out of the cab, the driver also got out and attempted to pull her back into the car. A fight broke out and the victim was able to get away after kicking and punching the suspect, Carver said. She ran away and hid in the bushes till the cab left and called a friend for a ride. She reported the incident just before 4:30 p.m. Thursday evening and police discovered scratches and bruises on her arm and a cut lip.

The suspect was described as a Persian or Middle Eastern man with a Spanish accent and short, buzzed black hair, Carver said. He was approximately 5 feet, 9 inches, heavy-set — 200-plus pounds — and in his early 40s, Carver said. The woman was unsure of what cab company the man was with.

Carver said people should call a cab company to order a cab so there's a record of what driver was sent out from the company. He also said people should try to travel in pairs. If a similar incident should occur, he told residents to report it to police immediately.

Two years ago a Cathedral City taxi driver was accused of raping a Costa Mesa woman after picking her up from Goat Hill Tavern. He was released when charges weren't filed in time, according to a November 2004 Daily Pilot article.

Three injured in crash in Costa Mesa

A Buena Park man was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence after his Ford Bronco crashed on Red Hill Avenue and Bristol Street on Thursday afternoon, causing injuries to his passengers, according to police.

Larry Duane Stroup, 42, was not injured when he apparently lost control of his car, Sgt. Marty Carver said. He was also arrested on a felony parole violation. Santa Ana resident Jacob Byrne, 17, was partially ejected and had a large cut on his arm, Carver said. He was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

John Simone, 44, of Santa Ana suffered a minor injury to his arm and shoulder and was taken to Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana, Carver said. Tustin resident Francisco Hernandez, 30, was treated for pain at the scene and released, Carver said.

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