Two drivers who worked for the same Long Island cab company got into an altercation Friday that left a Maspeth man dead, the Nassau County police said.
At around 9:30 p.m., 35-year-old Christopher Heron, of 174-11 140th Ave. in Jamaica, stabbed another driver in a parking lot along Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square, police said.
Shortly after midnight, officers responded to a 911 call and found 32-year-old William Mena from Maspeth lying unconscious in the parking lot with a stab wound to the torso, police said.
Mena, who was married and had two children, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both Mena and Heron worked at Ollie’s Taxi in Franklin Square.
Heron was charged with second-degree murder in Nassau District Court, police said.
Ann Angelillo, who owns Murph’s, a bar across the street, said taxi drivers often hang out in the parking lot where the incident occurred while they wait for calls.
“There are anywhere between two and six cabs out there every night,” she said.
But the drivers who congregate there are nice people, according to Angelillo, who lets them use the bathroom in the bar.
“All the guys usually get along,” Angelillo said, “including the one who did this.”
Heron often came into the bar to have coffee and watch sports, she said, and even went out of his way to give rides to a repeat customer who is wheelchair-bound, which is why she was surprised to learn of the murder.
The altercation could have occurred over a $4 fare, according to Angelillo.
Some of her customers also work for Ollie’s Taxi, and they told her the fight was the culmination of pent-up animosity between the two drivers, Angelillo said.
“It wasn’t over one call one day,” she said.
Heron typically got more calls than Mena, the barflies told Angelillo, and after the taxi dispatcher called Heron to pick up the $4 fare some time before the stabbing, Mena intercepted the call and picked up the fare instead.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community News Group
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