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A family's first trip to New York took a frightening turn after their cabbie sped away from police at Kennedy Airport. But a teen is now being hailed a hero after he helped nab the hustler cabbie. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
A hustler cabbie who trapped a family of tourists in his vehicle as he tried to evade police at Kennedy Airport has been sentenced to six months in jail, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Bhupinder Singh, 38, of Ridgewood, Queens, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree unlawful imprisonment in connection with the February incident, said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. In addition to his jail term, Singh will serve five years' probation.
Singh illegally offered cab service to arriving passengers at Kennedy Airport on Feb. 21, and solicited a family of four from Panama, authorities said. When he escorted the family into his livery cab, two Port Authority police officers saw him and tried to stop him.
Singh locked the car's doors, drove around the officers and sped away while police chased him. One of the passengers, 17-year-old Aldo Sosa, grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it to the right, causing the vehicle to crash into a guardrail.
Singh then ran away on foot, but police caught up with him and arrested him.
"My dad and I did what we were supposed to, just reflex kicked in and we just took the wheel and took the car to the side," Sosa told NBC 4 New York at the time.
Police said Singh had been arrested five times before February's incident for overcharging passengers. Last year, Port Authority police made 400 arrests of "hustler cabbies," so called because they are often not licensed to carry people and charge exorbitant prices.
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