Driver killed in cab remembered as 'simple man'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 62-year-old taxi driver who was found shot Saturday night in a Gator Taxi that left the road and ended up in the front yard of a Panama Park home died at the hospital.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identified the victim as Melvin Gene Wright, but hasn't released many details of his killing.

Police were called by a neighbor who only reported a car in a yard on Bloxham Avenue about 10 p.m. Wright was found slumped over the passenger seat of the cab. Arriving officers did CPR until rescue personnel took him UF Health Jacksonville, where he died.

Neighbors the car had spun around with the trunk toward the house and it was wedged between two trees.

"I didn't think it was a crime scene," said Kelvassicia Frazier, who arrived home later that night. "There was nothing out of the ordinary that was going on. It was just a car parked close to the house. Looked like someone was moving in."

Another neighbor, Michael Bell who drives for Uber, says the job can be scary.

"Not as much for Uber as there is for cab drivers because everybody knows that everything we do is done through an app, credit cards and there is no cash involved in the car. But with taxicabs they are at a higher danger because they have cash and everybody knows it," Bell said. 

Wright is the fourth cab driver killed in Jacksonville in the past decade. Stuart Carson was killed in 2014 during a robbery; Crandall Reed was killed in 2007; and, in 2006, Denise Manning was also murdered during a robbery. Two of the three homicides was solved, but Reed's killer was never caught.

Wright lived in Springfield. A neighbor called him a nice, simple man who went to work, went to work and slept. 

Anyone with information about Wright's death is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.