Editor’s Note: A story published in Tuesday’s edition of the News reported an OVI charge by an employee of a taxi company was related to an imposed suspension. The two incidences were unrelated.
MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon police officer was dispatched to the parking lot at 109 W. Ohio Ave. Friday night about 11:30 p.m. to investigate a crash in the lot.
According to the MVPD incident report, witnesses told the officer that a car had attempted to park in a space between two other parked cars but the space was too narrow. Witnesses said the first car struck the two parked cars, then moved forward, striking the building at 107 W. Ohio Ave.
Police arrested Virgil Bird, the driver of the car, who was subsequently charged with driving/physical control while under the influence, reckless operation off street, menacing and on a warrant for probation violation. Bird’s Ohio operator’s license was automatically suspended for his refusal to submit to sobriety tests.
On Monday, the Mount Vernon Taxi Board suspended the business license of Safe Cab, which employed Bird. The hearing was to rule on charges that Safe Cab had mechanical and maintenance violations on their cab, and for not having required taxi insurance for a period from March 18 to May 7. These issues came as a result of periodic and unannounced inspections on all local cab companies by Police Chief Michael K. Merrilees.
Merrilees found Safe Cab could not document having the proper insurance at the time of the inspection.
According to Merrilees, Safe Cab owner Lilian Bird assured him, at the time of the inspection, the company did have proper insurance. Merrilees reported this to the Taxi Board and a hearing was scheduled for Monday to investigate the two charges.
Merrilees said the hearing had nothing to do with Virgil’s charges the previous Friday. Virgil, Lilian’s son, is an employee of Safe Cab. When arrested, he was driving a 1990 Lincoln that was marked as being a Safe Cab vehicle but was not being used as such because it was not properly insured for use as a taxi. Safe Cab has one other vehicle that is now insured and, according to Merrilees, five or six other licensed drivers.
At the hearing, Lilian said the mechanical issues had been fixed and admitted the company did not have proper insurance for a period of time. Because of the insurance lapse, the board suspended Safe Cab’s operating license for 30 days.
The fate of Virgil’s cab license will depend on the resolution of the charges against him in court. An Ohio Cab license requires the driver to have a valid Ohio Operator’s license and without that the cab license is invalid.
Lilian told the News on Tuesday the suspension would begin Sept. 1, but she did not know if the company would resume operations after the suspension was over.