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Published: Thursday, 5/13/2010

Toledo teen pleads guilty in assault, robbery of taxi driver

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Michael Orwig said yesterday that he had tried to fight back.

With an assailant seated behind him in his taxi beating on his head, the now-64-year-old driver said he fought the best he could.

"He kept hitting me. He cleaned my clock," Mr. Orwig said yesterday. "I turned around and tried to defend myself, but he pulled me in the back and wedged me between the seats."

The teenager charged with the assault appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to accept responsibility for the attack and robbery.

Terrance Brown, 17, of 432 Arklow Drive pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated robbery and felonious assault.

He faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced May 27 by Judge Charles Doneghy.

The taxi Mr. Orwig was driving on Jan. 15 after the assault was later described by authorities to have so much blood in it that it looked like a "murder scene." Mr. Orwig said yesterday that his assailant made off with $7.

With a soft voice and in a single statement, Brown told the judge what happened on that early morning when he called the cab company and requested a ride.

"I gave him an address. He came and picked me up," Brown said. "I told him to go to a certain location. I beat him, took the money, and ran."

Brown initially was charged in county Juvenile Court on a count of attempted murder as well as the assault and robbery charges. The teen was certified to stand trial as an adult after a Feb. 9 certification hearing.

A Lucas County grand jury declined to indict him on the charge of attempted murder.

Authorities said Brown called the taxi company using a false name and address and arranged for the driver to pick him up. He then directed Mr. Orwig to the back of an apartment complex at 5204 Regency Drive, near Reynolds Road in Sylvania Township.

The teenager was arrested several hours after the 7:30 a.m. attack.

He left behind a badly beaten Mr. Orwig, who suffered a fractured nose and skull and bleeding on the brain. He received 33 stitches on his face. Mr. Orwig, who spent five days in the hospital, said it was several weeks before he returned to work.

"I've been driving a cab for 39 years. I just try to be careful. Where I picked him up wasn't a bad area," he said.

"What he did to me, I don't think it has to do with him being 17 at the time," Mr. Orwig added. "I think he was thinking about getting something and not working for it."



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