NY taxi imposter gets jail after high-speed chase

Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:01am EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A man posing as a taxi driver who led police on a high-speed chase from John F. Kennedy International Airport with five unsuspecting French tourists in his van was sentenced to one year in jail.

Khaalif Preacher, 28, and an accomplice told the tourists who had arrived at the airport that their van was a taxi service. The incident occurred in June 2009.

The van began speeding, attracting the attention of police who gave chase through residential streets, court documents said. Some 10 police vehicles joined the pursuit.

"As the vehicle was still moving (the taxi driver and accomplice) jumped out, fleeing on foot, leaving their five screaming tourists locked inside the still moving vehicle, which crashed into a stop sign and then a U.S. Postal Service truck," court documents said.

Preacher, who was sentenced on Thursday, pleaded guilty in October to one count of reckless endangerment, a district attorney spokeswoman said.

The accomplice, Ian McFarlane, 58, was previously sentenced to 90 days in jail.

(Reporting by Basil Katz, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)