Taxi driver loses eye after rock from slingshot hits him
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - A taxi driver continues to recover after a rock from a slingshot flew through his open window and hit him in the face while he was driving passengers on the Las Vegas Strip.
Taxi driver Tilahun Teginge is adjusting to his new life, preparing food and getting around, after losing his left eye in the Oct. 21 incident. He has been unable to work since that night.
“I have to practice this new life with one eye,” he said. “It’s a new experience.”
Police say Teginge was hit in the face by a rock from a slingshot. The taxi driver was taking customers to Treasure Island around 11:45 p.m. and stopped at a light on Las Vegas Boulevard to turn into the resort.
“Windows down. I was talking with my customer. I was chatting with them, and suddenly, something ‘pop, pop’ and then hurt me a lot. It was big time bleeding. I’ve never seen blood like that,” Teginge said.
His passengers dialed 911, while he tried to remain calm.
At the hospital, a doctor informed Teginge they needed to remove his eye, due to the damage he’d received.
“It’s shocking,” he said.
Teginge now relies on his 22-year-old daughter, Blane Cheru, who helps with his medication and driving him to appointments.
“My dad’s a really independent man, but this past month, trying to help someone who’s so independent after they’ve been dealing with something like this is very difficult,” she said.
Despite this setback, Teginge remains driven to chase the American Dream after immigrating from Africa in 1999. After a few years in the Midwest, he moved to Nevada in 2004 and has been a taxi driver for 14 years in Las Vegas.
“It’s the land of opportunity,” Teginge said. “Still, I am motivated to work.”
However, due to his injury, it’s unlikely he will return to work as a taxi driver.
Cheru started a GoFundMe to help her father with expenses as he adjusts to his new life.
Police arrested Enrique Duarte Hidalgo on Nov. 16 in connection with the incident. They say he and his son, who is a minor, used a slingshot to shoot rocks at buildings and cars on the Las Vegas Strip.
Hidalgo faces several charges, including battery with the use of a deadly weapon. It’s unclear if his son will also face charges.
Police say the two were shootings rocks because the son was dealing with emotional stress following his parents’ separation.
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