Don’t Call This Taxi Driver

It’s a time-honored tradition:  When you’ve had too much to drink, don’t drive.  Call a cab.

Not so fast.

An alert “06880” reader spotted this item in Thursday’s Stamford Advocate:

A veteran Westport taxi driver was arrested for drunk driving Thursday morning just before he was to start collecting fares.

Edward McConnell, 69, of 43 Ivy Place, Norwalk, was arrested by Westport police at 7:30 a.m. after he was spotted driving in the wrong lane on Charles Street near the Westport train station, police said.

McConnell was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk where he pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence.  He was released on a promise to appear back in court, but Judge Bruce Hudock prohibited him from driving.

McConnell, a 21-year Westport Taxi employee, told police he was on his way to work at the time he was stopped.

During the traffic stop, the police officer said he smelled alcohol on McConnell’s breath and his speech was slow and slurred.  A test put McConnell’s blood-alcohol content at 0.217 — more than double the legal 0.8 legal limit, police said.

The “06880” reader wrote:

I wonder how many times this guy took me from the Y or downtown or the beach to my house (a decent backroads drive), and he was completely hammered.

With the DUI crackdown going on in Saugatuck recently, it is sad that people make the choice to drive home after a few drinks because they don’t trust the taxi driver’s sobriety.

Calling a cab should be a smart move.  Not a life-threatening one.

Chinese taxi driver

In China, authorities test taxi drivers for sobriety. Is Westport next?

One response to “Don’t Call This Taxi Driver

  1. I couldn’t agree more with the quoted reader’s comment that is it “sad” when the sobriety of a taxi cab driver is in question. Anyone that keeps an eye on the police log or frequents any of the many bars/restaurants in the Saugatuck area has heard of the recent increase in DUI arrests. Obviously, there is no justification for drinking and driving. That said, the town needs to focus on realistic and safe solutions for keeping drunk drivers off the roads.

    I understand I am about to make some generalizations about the Westport Cab service, that certainly do not apply to some of the drivers, but should not apply to any of them. While this may be the first driver pulled over for allegedly drinking and driving, I think it’s far from the first time a Westport cab driver was drunk on the clock. Drivers are frequently rude while driving erratically. I had often heard rumors that some drivers drink on the job and even had a driver confirm that rumor no more than 2 months ago. This arrest is all the more confirmation. Drinking is a reality in this community from the high school on up, which makes drinking and driving a reality. When the town can not rely on the cab service as a safe, sober, and responsible option this just exacerbates the problem. If drinking and driving is going to be addressed, so does Westport Taxi.