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Cab driver stabbed in lieu of fare, police say

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

FALKVILLE — A man spent Monday afternoon on the run after attacking a Decatur cab driver with a knife when the driver asked for the fare, authorities said Monday.

Chief Deputy Mike Corley said the attack took place inside the River City Cab taxi after the driver returned the suspect to a residence at 379 Nat Key Road at about 3:30 p.m. Corley said the suspect, Stephen Murphy, 56, lives with his mother at the residence.

Outside the residence, driver Lowell Cole Jr., 36, asked Murphy for the $104 fare.

Murphy pulled out a knife with a three-inch single-edged blade and slashed Cole across the right cheek, Corley said. There was apparently no argument leading up to attack, he said.

"That was his first response. Without warning, instead of coming out of his pocket with the money, he came out with a kitchen knife," Corley said.

During the ensuing struggle, the cab rolled forward, striking the banister of a wheelchair ramp, Corley said.

Murphy, who suffered minor injuries during the fight, including a bite on his right thumb by Cole, took the opportunity to escape the vehicle, Corley said.

Cole drove to a residence about a quarter mile away and asked for help.

Falkville police responded and talked with Cole briefly before he was transported to Hartselle Medical Center where he will receive stitches on his cheek and treatment for defensive wounds to his hands, Corley said.

Police secured the cab as a crime scene.

Corley said police believe Murphy went into the house after jumping out of the cab but he was not found there during the initial search.

Monday evening, Murphy "returned to the residence and directed threats to family members there," Corley said.

Murphy apparently suffered further injuries when family members tried to detain him. He was taken by ambulance to Hartselle Medical Center.

"He has not been arrested yet, but he is being accompanied by a deputy and we will talk to him if medical staff permits," Corley said.

Deputies were already seeking Murphy for questioning in a forgery case when the attack took place, Corley said.

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