A Hinesville Yellow Cab driver was allegedly robbed, pistol-whipped and kidnapped Sunday, according to an incident report filed by Hinesville Police Officer Lyle Thurmond.
Thurmond said he was dispatched to an assault call in the 700 block of West Oglethorpe Highway shortly after 1 a.m. When he arrived he was met by Tameka Stevens, who told the officer her boyfriend, cab driver James Ford, had been assaulted at Regency Place Apartments in Hinesville. Stevens told the officer that an unknown man had appeared and punched Ford in the face. She told police she did not know the assailant, who reportedly was wearing black clothing, and didn’t see where he came from. Stevens said she left Ford briefly to call police from Walmart’s parking lot.
Thurmond requested assistance from Patrolman Mykel Fincher. Fincher looked for Ford at Regency Place Apartments, but could not find the victim. Thurmond checked in at Liberty Regional Medical Center’s emergency room to see if Ford had been admitted or was being treated for wounds he may have sustained in the attack. As he left the ER, Thurmond said, a Hinesville Police desk operator notified him that Ford had come into the police station to file a report.
During an interview, Ford told Thurman he was at the apartment complex talking to Stevens when an assailant attacked him and punched him in the face. The victim said he tried to run but fell down several times. The assailant caught up with Ford and Ford said he recognized his attacker as Brandon Williams.
According to Ford, Williams, 19, continued to punch him, picked him up, put him in the trunk of his cab and drove to Smokerise Apartments on Tupelo Trail. Ford told police that Williams parked behind an apartment, took him out of the trunk and pistol whipped him.
Williams allegedly then put Ford in the front passenger seat of the cab and drove to a nearby motel. The suspect reportedly robbed the cab driver, taking $200, Ford’s bank card, his house keys and cell phone. Ford said he saw Williams give his cell phone to a man standing outside of a motel room, but when he tried to get it back the man reportedly told Ford that he had not been given a phone.
Williams reportedly told Ford that he had friends waiting for him and threatened the victim and the victim’s family with bodily harm if Ford talked to police. He then allegedly left the area. Ford said he went to the police department to file a report.
HPD Det. Jeff Lui, lead investigator on the case, noted Ford’s injuries included a swollen left eye and skinned knuckles and palms.
Lui said a warrant was issued for Williams’ arrest on charges of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault (using a firearm as a deadly weapon while assaulting a victim and assault with intent to rob a victim), possession of a firearm while committing aggravated assault, possession of a firearm for motor vehicle high-jacking, kidnapping, motor vehicle high-jacking and threats to prevent information on criminal activity from being communicated to law enforcement.
Law enforcement officers searched for Williams on Sunday and Monday but could not find him. However, at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, Williams reportedly came into the police department to pay an unrelated fine and Patrolman Michael Dye recognized him as a suspect in the assault on Ford. Dye arrested Williams and while searching the suspect found a bag of marijuana in his pocket.