A shaken driver has told how he was left temporarily blinded after being punched in the face and head - causing him to lose control of his minicab and crash into a lamppost.
Nabeel, from Middlesbrough, said: “I am still working as a PHV driver but I am looking for another job.”
Nabeel’s nightmare pickup began after collecting a woman and a man, Steven Charlton. They were arguing before getting into the minicab and continued as it drove them away.
As Nabeel drove the woman started slapping Charlton in the face. Concerned that things were getting out of control, he tried to intervene by suggesting he would drop off one passenger and then the other.
Things went quiet for a few minutes before Charlton launched his vicious attack, Teesside Crown Court heard last month.
Nabeel told the Middlesbrough Gazette: “He attacked me from behind. He was hitting me in the face and the eyes. I could not see anything so I lost control and the car hit a lamppost.
“I got out of the car and he came out and started following me so I crossed the road.
It was very scary and he was acting like an animal.”
Nabeel was left stranded as Charlton made off with his cab, which was later found by police officers.
Officers found and arrested Charlton, who was not over the alcohol limit during the incident.
He appeared at Teesside Crown Court and pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, taking a vehicle without consent and driving without insurance.
Judge Peter Bowers jailed him for 12 months and told him: “I am worried that you have such a short fuse.”