LAS VEGAS – A taxicab driver in Las Vegas heals at home after a slingshot rock hits him in the face and causes him to lose an eye while he is driving passengers on the Las Vegas Strip.
Tilahun Teginge said he’s learning to live his new life with one eye closed.
“It’s a new experience for me,” he explained. “I can’t get to things.” I can’t get to the water I need.”
Depth perception is still proving difficult. He’s not going to let that stop him from persisting through the hardship and pursuing the American Dream after arriving from Africa in 1999.
“I’m originally from Ethiopia, but I used to reside in Kenya,” he explained. Teginge came here to give his family a better life. “It’s the country of possibilities.” After a few years in the Midwest, he relocated to Nevada in 2004 and has worked as a taxicab driver in Las Vegas for 14 years.
Teginge was injured about 11:45 p.m. on October 21 while transporting two guests from Caesar’s Palace to Treasure Island. When he came to a stop at a light on Las Vegas Blvd, intending to turn into the resort, his life altered in the blink of an eye.
“”I was talking with my customer with the windows down,” he explained. “I was conversing with them when something went pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, boom It was excruciatingly painful. I tried to keep my cool because my car was in drive, and I tried to keep my eye open while my customers began to dial 911. It was a lot of blood. I’ve never seen so much blood.”
While at the hospital, a doctor advised him that surgery was required to remove the damage from his eye.
“Things changed after that,” he claimed. “It’s a difficult moment since working means making money and living your life; not working means getting nothing.”
He has been unable to work since that night and is dependent on his 22-year-old daughter Blane Cheru for assistance. When the UNLV student is not in class, she helps apply medicine to his left eye, prepare meals, and transport him to appointments.
“My father is a very independent man, but trying to help someone who is so independent after coping with something like this has been very tough,” she said. “Everything has to be relearned for him.” You know, sit all the way to the left so you can see everything to your right. It’s a shame his vision isn’t as good in his right eye as it is in his left. But it will require a lot of adjusting.”
Metro Police are accused a father and son of not only injuring Teginge but also throwing rocks at buildings and cars on the Las Vegas Strip with a slingshot. On November 16, officers apprehended Enrique Duarte Hidalgo. According to a police report, he faces charges of battery with a deadly weapon, child abuse, and other gross misdemeanors stemming from incidents on two evenings in October and November.
Hildago’s son is a minor, and it is unknown whether he will face prosecution.
Police investigated each reported occurrence and discovered the same suspect vehicle in each case. The car was registered to Duarte Hildago, according to the license plate number. Officers went to Duarte Hidalgo’s house to speak with him, but “he instantly raced into the dwelling and locked the door,” according to the report. Duarte Hildago eventually spoke with authorities and stated that he had taken his son to eat tacos. According to authorities, he changed his statement and admitting to using a slingshot to shoot at automobiles and buildings.
According to police, Teginge’s dash cam shows Duarte Hildago’s car moving south on Las Vegas Blvd with the driver’s window down and “the second before Teginge is shown shouting out in agony, Enrique’s vehicle is seen driving past Teginge as he is stopped at a traffic light.” The internal dash camera shows Enrique’s vehicle driving southward on Las Vegas Blvd as soon as Teginge shouts in agony.”
“”I don’t know what made him do such a stupid thing,” Teginge explained.
According to police, Duarte Hidalgo’s son told that “he and his father drive down the Strip frequently and on occasion both bring their slingshots.” According to authorities, the minor shooting rocks occurred “because he has been struggling with emotional stress as a result of his parents’ breakup.”
“”I’m not sure if they care or have any regret,” Cheru remarked. “But that’s not something to be concerned about since what else can you do?” You can’t beg time to go back, because it’s not going to happen.”
Instead, Teginge plans to rehabilitate and eventually return to work, though most likely not as a taxi driver.
“”I don’t think so because I’ll have a huge blind spot while driving.”
Cheru launched a Go Fund Me campaign to assist her father with expenditures and adjusting to his new life.
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