Police: Drunk passenger chokes taxi driver, causing crash

SEATTLE -- A drunk passenger caused a taxi to spin out and crash onto a downtown sidewalk when he started choking the driver from the backseat, according to the Seattle Police Department.

According to the police report for the incident, officers arrived in the 600 block of Spring Street around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday and found the cab on the sidewalk, its rear end slammed into a concrete planter box.

The driver told officers he picked up an apparently highly intoxicated man up in Bellevue and drove him to Seattle. As they were nearing Seventh Avenue, the man grabbed his neck from behind and started tightening his arm around it, according to the report.

The driver said he took his hands off the wheel to defend himself and lost control of the cab. The cab spun a number of times before coming to a stop on the sidewalk.

According to the report, the man told the driver he had a gun and wouldn't be paying his $40 fare before jumping out of the cab and running off.

Officers were unable to find the man in the area.