Lexington cab driver Mike Carpenter said he didn't notice anything unusual about the man he picked up on August 29th. Carpenter said the man needed a ride to the south side of town and what seemed to be a normal conversation took place during the ride.
As Carpenter came upon Nicholasville Road near Central Baptist Hospital, he got stuck in traffic. That's when his passenger made a move that was completely unexpected.
"I took my eye off him for a minute and in one sweeping move, he was able to put a knife to my throat and told me he was gonna kill me."
Carpenter said he tried to remain calm and reached for a taser he kept beneath his seat. He said he wasn't able to actually get a hold of the taser to use it but he was able to turn it on. The sound made by taser as it was activated startled his assailant. Carpenter said that's when he was able to grab the knife and move it away from his throat. But, the assailant still had control of the weapon.
Carpenter said the man then started stabbing him repeatedly in the head.
"He kept stabbing me. All I could do was count it. I counted every time he stuck that knife in the top of my head and at the same time I was wondering how do I stop this from happening?"
Carpenter was able to make his move when the assailant got his arm near Carpenter's mouth.
"I bit right down on the most tender part of his forearm and he went to squealing like a baby, 'Turn me loose! Turn me loose.'"
The assailant then opened the door and took off. Police managed to catch up with him in a neighborhood near the site of the attack. He was identified as Justin Thornton. Thornton managed to reach a plea deal in the case and was released from jail shortly after the attack. However, he is currently back in jail on a probation violation.
As for Carpenter, he says he continues to be vigilant with all of his passengers. When asked if he'd consider utilizing a barrier between the front and back seats of his cab, he said he wasn't interested. In twenty-five years of driving a cab, he says this is the first time something like this has happened to him.
In regards to his assailant, Carpenter issued a strong statement but managed to maintain his sense of humor.
"When he gets out of jail, I hope he calls a cab."