Cab driver hijacked in Lexington County

A bizarre and bloody taxi cab hijacking has ended with the arrest of the alleged hijacker, Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies said Sunday.

Michael E. Wolfe, 19, of 116 Villas Court, West Columbia, was in the Lexington County jail Sunday charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possessing a weapon during a violent crime, and unlawfully carrying a weapon, said Sheriff James Metts in a press release.

Bail has been set at $500.000.

The taxi driver, Gerald Hewson, 54, was pistol-whipped during his ordeal, the sheriff’s department said, but apparently suffered no life-threatening injuries.

“I think he (Hewson) is home,” a dispatcher at the Checker Yellow Cab said Sunday afternoon. She said Hewson doesn’t want to talk to anyone.

Hewson was held captive and forced to drive around West Columbia for almost four hours early Saturday morning in his 1996 Ford Crown Victoria cab, sometimes at gunpoint, sheriff’s deputies said.

Hewson’s ordeal began shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday when he picked up a man on Arthurdale Drive. After making a phone call, the man pulled a pistol and ordered Hewson to give him money, then beat Hewson about the head with the handgun.

Then the man ordered Hewson to drive to a convenience store on Platt Springs Road, where Hewson — at the man’s direction — bought him some beer and a pack of cigarettes.

The man then ordered Hewson to change places. The man began drinking beer and driving erratically on Platt Springs Road, “swerving on and off the road and driving in the opposing travel lanes, the press release said.

Several times, the taxi almost “collided head-on with other motor vehicles,” a Sheriff’s Department press release said.

The man then drove the cab to a fast-food store, ordered food and drove to a parking lot to eat the food.

At that point, uniformed Lexington County sheriff’s deputies — alerted by an off-duty detective who radioed in a call about a Checker Yellow Cab being driven erratically — swooped in to make the arrest of Wolfe.