Hospital patient allegedly carjacked taxi at airport, then led officials on a chase

Nicolas Quinones, 22, is accused of robbery by assault (Bastrop County Jail Photo)
Nicolas Quinones, 22, is accused of robbery by assault (Bastrop County Jail Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man allegedly used a fire extinguisher to carjack a taxi driver at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport before leading officials on a multi-county, high-speed chase Tuesday.

Nicolas Quinones, 22, faces a felony Robbery by Assault charge for the alleged attack that began around 11:17 a.m.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a Yellow Cab company driver picked Quinones up at St. David’s Hospital. Quinones was given a taxi voucher by a social worker to get a free ride to the airport. The driver told police Quinones was wearing a white hospital gown with a tan t-shirt and black pants, and had a backpack with him. He slid into the front seat as they took off.

Taxi that was stolen in Austin. (Fayette County Sheriff's Office)
Taxi that was stolen in Austin. (Fayette County Sheriff’s Office)

During the 19 minute drive to the airport, the driver said he and Quinones didn’t talk to each other. As the taxi pulled up to the upper level of the terminal, Quinones allegedly reached down and grabbed a fire extinguisher.

“[The driver] said that Quinones then raised up the fire extinguisher without warning and then attempted to strike him in the head with it,” according to the affidavit.

The driver flung up his arms, but Quinones was still able to hit the top of his nose, according to the affidavit. They wrestled over the fire extinguisher and the driver managed to grab it and put the taxi in park in the middle of the street.

The driver told police Quinones then tried to hit him with a cup holder, so he got out of the car and was almost hit by an airport shuttle.

“At that time [the driver] was shouting at a passing airport shuttle, screaming for the driver to call the police because he was ‘being robbed,'” the affidavit stated. “During that time, Quinones moved from the front passenger seat into the driver seat and then drove away.”

Around 11:40 a.m. a Bastrop County Sheriff Department deputy saw the taxi speeding east on State Highway 71. He tried to pull the driver over, but he wouldn’t stop. The deputy said the chase at one point reached speeds of 130 mph.

Department of Public Safety troopers and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office joined the chase near La Grange, Texas. After four tries they successfully deployed spike strips to stop the Yellow Cab.

Quinones also faces Evading Arrest and Assault of a Public Servant charges. His bond is set at $300,000.

The Yellow Cab company released a statement after the incident. It stated “We are extremely fortunate the Yellow Cab driver was not injured and that no other injuries resulted from this incident. In addition, we want to thank the Austin Police Department for their quick response.”

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