July 28, 2009

Cabbie faces suspension over tot incident

A Boston taxi drivers group has criticized the city's police for seeking a suspension against a driver who mistakenly drove off with a toddler still in his van.

Capt. Robert Ciccolo, commander of the Boston Police Hackney Division, notified taxi driver Joseph Cohen, 66, he was facing a suspension after he mistakenly drove off with a young girl still in his van after taking a family from Boston's Logan International Airport to Mattapan, Mass., the Boston Herald reported Tuesday.

Cohen discovered the girl and returned her to her family after a friend notified him he was being sought by police.

Donna Blythe-Shaw, staff representative for the United Steelworkers Boston Taxi Drivers Association, said it was outrageous that police would seek a suspension in the case.

What we should be saying is thank God this person was a decent human being, Blythe-Shaw said. Would the pilot of a plane be suspended because a parent left their child on board? It's the responsibility of the parents to take the child out of the cab.

A Boston police spokesman said Cohen is being investigated because cab drivers are required to check their vehicles for left-behind carry-on luggage after every fare.

Clearly in this particular case the operator didn't do that, officer James Kenneally said, because if he had he probably would have discovered the infant.