Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg police investigating fatal stabbing of cab driver at gas station

UPDATE: Juan Carlos Juarez, 27, was arrested Thursday night around 9:15 p.m. at his residence in unincorporated Pinellas County, not far from where stabbing victim John Andrew Hutchens' cab was found.

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a 59-year-old taxi driver who was killed at a Citgo gas station just before 1 a.m. Thursday.

Officers said they found John Andrew Hutchens severely injured after someone attacked him and drove away in his United Taxi of Clearwater cab.

Hutchens, of Pinellas Park, was pronounced dead at the gas station at 2750 38th Ave N.

Police have not named any possible suspects, but the taxi was found abandoned near 47th Avenue N and 71st Way — about five miles from the gas station — shortly after the attack.

St. Petersburg police released few details about the murder, including whether Hutchens was killed while trying to pick up a fare.

But cab drivers know well that the risks that come with their job.

"You never know who you're picking up," said Yellow Cab of Tampa CEO Louis Minardi.

When Minardi got into his office on Thursday afternoon, he started making calls to other cab companies to see if he could learn more about what happened. He said when a driver is lost on the job, he tells his own drivers when the services are so they can pay their respects.

"We want to reach out to the owners over there and give our condolences," he said.

When reached by phone, an employee at United Taxi declined to comment and said employees were told not to speak to the media until the investigation is over.

Investigators scoured the gas station as the sun rose Thursday morning. There were several evidence markers placed around a red four-door car in the Citgo parking lot, but police did not say what connection the vehicle had with the murder.

During the investigation, a section of 38th Avenue N near 28th Street was closed to traffic. By 9 a.m. the tape was down and traffic returned to normal.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] or (727)893-8862. Follow @sara_dinatale.

 
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