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Man Charged With Slashing Cab Driver After Quarrel In Washington Heights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man has been arrested in the vicious slashing of a cab driver in Washington Heights on Tuesday.

As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported, it was the latest in a string of random slashing attacks in the city that has left many on edge.

The victim was on the job as a livery cab driver at the time of the attack. He did not want his identity known, but showed CBS2 the bandaged injury that required 60 stitches from his ear along his jawline to his chin.

Meanwhile, a paramedic's glove was all that was left on the scene of brutal crime on Amsterdam Avenue near West 159th Street.

The 45-year-old driver got into a quarrel with a passenger just after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

He told police the passenger reached into his pocket, but instead of showing a method of payment, he allegedly had a knife. The cabbie said the passenger then slashed him and ran.

"I see the taxi driver – you know, he had a big cut on his face," said witness Rolando Darand.

Video from a nearby store surveillance camera showed part of the scene as police cars and ambulances arrived.

The cabbie went to Harlem Hospital Center. Within minutes, police arrested Leolyn Rowe, 47, nearby.

The suspect was brought to the 33rd Precinct police station, and was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

"This guy picked up this man in Brooklyn, brought him to New York City, and then the guy doesn't want to pay and instead slashes his face," said New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesman Fernando Mateo.

Mateo said all cabbies should remember one main thing.

"I tell my drivers, if the guy doesn't want to pay you, just leave," Mateo said. "You know, don't argue back. Don't fight back. It's not worth it. He could've taken your life."

Meanwhile, neighborhood residents were fearful with slashings happening everywhere lately.

"That's concerning, because now you could just be walking on the street, and for no reason somebody might just walk up to you and slash you. You have to be careful of like who's even in your space," said Jennifer Powell of Washington Heights.

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