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San Francisco cabbies, Steve Anton says, know all about States Street. The site where cab driver Balvinder Singh was knifed, robbed, and nearly murdered last night is a place that raises red flags among veteran cabbies. "There's only one way in and one way out," says Anton, the co-owner of Regents Cab and Singh's boss.
With no intersections, not much in the way of lighting, and little foot traffic, it's an ideal place for an ambush. And at around 7:10 last night Singh was beaten, stabbed in the face, neck, and chest, and robbed. While Singh is a veteran cab driver who earned his taxi medallion in New York City, Anton reports that the 53-year-old has only driven in San Francisco for a year and lives in the East Bay. He may not have known about States Street.
According to Anton, Singh -- who came close to dying last night but has currently recovered enough at General Hospital to speak with the police today -- came out west to marry his wife around a year ago and wanted to "make a new life for himself out here." Anton has started a fund to "tide [Singh] over and see what we can do to get him on his feet." Like most cabbies, Singh does not have benefits -- though Anton is optimistic that his workman's comp insurance will cover his doctor's expenses.
Singh, a devout Sikh, is described as a quiet man with a sly sense of humor who is well-liked by his colleagues. He was out of work for much of December after undergoing surgery for a thyroid problem, so he'd only started driving once again shortly before this robbery. And, to add insult to injury, Singh was only three hours into his shift last night when he was robbed, so he may have been beaten and stabbed for not much money at all.
The man suspected of attacking and robbing Singh was one of his fares, and is described as a black man in his 20s who was wearing a dark, puffy hooded jacket, dark pants, and dark tennis shoes. His image was caught on the taxi's on board camera and he is still at large.
Anton said those interested in contributing to Singh's fund can send checks to Balvinder Singh c/o Regents Cab Co., 98 Pennsylvania, San Francisco, CA 94107