ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Surveillance cameras at a St. Augustine convenience store where a cab driver went for help when a passenger began kicking and punching him record the repeated attacks. Video also show the driver being pursued into the store and the man attacking a second cab driver who came to help.
Paul Rayner said not long after the fare got in the back seat of his Yellow Cab just after 5 a.m. Thursday, the man started choking him. Rayner drove to Carmelo's Marketplace on King Street -- the only place he knew would be open -- where an outside camera showed him being kneed and beaten inside the cab.
"He had me in the what they call the full Nelson ... and I was seeing spots in my eyes," Rayner said Friday. " I was dizzy and I couldn't realize how I made it here."
After Rayner gets away and stumbles inside, the fare, who police identified as Eugene Wilson, 23, of Warner Robbins, Ga., followed him inside. Cameras inside the show Wilson continuing trying to punch Rayner, who keeps trying to get away. When the second cab driver shows up, video shows Wilson attacking him before jumping back in Rayner's cab and speeding off.
"I'm told that the clerk inside the store was pushing the panic button which rings to a private alarm company," said Mark Samson of the St. Augustine Police Department. "They have to verify what's going on in the store and then alert us."
Before police could catch up with the stolen cab, Wilson had lost control on a curve and wrapped it around a telephone pole.
Wilson was taken to Flagler Hospital, where he remained on Friday in stable condition. Police say when Wilson gets out he'll be charged with two counts of battery, auto theft and attempted robbery.
Police don't know Wilson's motive in the attack, but said they found ecstasy and cocaine in his system.
Rayner is happy he managed to get away to spend another day with his wife and daughters.
"I think just the adrenaline power of just thinking about my family is what got me so far," he said.
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