Police: Man hit cabbie in the face as he was driving

Police: Man hit cabbie in the face as he was driving

COOS BAY, Ore. --  A Coos Bay man was arrested on Sunday after police say he assaulted his cab driver.

Police say that John Palmer, 44, was highly intoxicated and began punching Yellow Cab taxi driver Martin Hatler, 26, in the face as he drove.

Authorities say Hatler was able to pull the cab over and Palmer fled.

The owner of Yellow Cab, Dick Leshley, says each vehicle has a secret alarm, constant radio contact and a tracking device to keep drivers safe. "Well, the safety precautions were always in place, but they were never top of mind because stuff didn't happen," he said. "They will be top of mind from now on."

Palmer is charged with assault, reckless endangerment and theft of services.

Leshley says Hatler has only been on the job three months, and he returned to work on Monday.