Cabbie to 911: ‘They jump out on freeway!’

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FILE -- A Broadway cab driver waits on a downtown Portland street for a call May 4, 2013. (KOIN 6 News, Jon Simmons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 911 call a Portland taxi driver made early Friday morning is remarkably different from a story told by passengers claiming he kicked them out for being gay.

The passengers were a same-sex couple who claim the Broadway Cab driver made homophobic remarks against them and further claim the driver forced them out on the side of the road.

“You can’t be gay in my cab,” is what passenger Kate Neal recounted to KOIN Friday night.

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Kate Neal and her partner say they were thrown out of a cab along I-84 because they are gay. (July 25, 2013, KOIN 6 News)

Neal and her partner got into the cab early Friday morning from downtown Portland. Once on Interstate 84, the driver placed a call to 911 dispatchers saying the couple was drunk and trying to get out of the cab.

KOIN got a copy of the driver’s frantic call:

“These people are really, really drunk and so mean, they want to jump out of the car,” the driver said.

Later in the call he told the dispatcher:

“These people they open the door!”

“They jump out on the freeway… You stupid girls!”

There are no homophobic remarks heard on the 911 call. The driver’s taxi permit has since been suspended.

Nik Yanchar, attorney for the same-sex couple, provided KOIN the following statement Wednesday morning:

“My clients disclosed from the very beginning that the driver called the police, which is how my clients ended up getting home that night.  He was responding to the call made by the driver and that is nothing new.”

Broadway Cab is conducting an investigation, along with the city of Portland.

Broadway Cab did not return calls for comment, but Radio Cab operations manager Charles Alward said the investigation and taxi permit suspension are standard in situations like this.

“Every situation is judged on the merits of that individual situation,” Alward said. Though he admitted he doesn’t know all the details of the case, he said, “I would strongly recommend any driver that they not stop on Interstate 84. It’s considered extremely dangerous. Get off an exit and then drop them off if something’s gone bad.”

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