Windsor

Aaron Driver's cabbie plans legal action against police

Terry Duffield, the Strathroy, Ont., taxi driver who picked up ISIS sympathizer Aaron Driver who detonated an explosive device in his cab, says he tried to return to work, but one turn of the key made him sweat, shake and vomit.

Strathroy, Ont., taxi driver Terry Duffield says he is still suffering from shock

Taxi driver Terry Duffield narrowly escaped being seriously injured when ISIS sympathizer Aaron Driver detonated an explosive in the back seat of his cab.

The Strathroy, Ont., taxi driver who picked up ISIS sympathizer Aaron Driver — who wound up detonating an explosive device in the cab — says he tried to return to work, but one turn of the key made him sweat, shake and vomit.

RCMP believe Driver was planning a terror attack in a public place. A tip from the FBI regarding an "imminent threat," led officers to a home on Park Street in Strathroy, where Driver was living with his sister, on Aug. 10.

Police officers had the home surrounded when Terry Duffield pulled his cab into the driveway around 4:30 p.m. ET.

Driver came out of the home and got into the back seat of the cab he had called.

Within seconds, police officers swarmed the cab and Driver detonated a device inside the taxi filling it with ash and smoke, said Duffield.

Debris can be seen in the taxi after Aaron Driver detonated an explosive device in the back seat. (RCMP)

After the explosion, officers opened fire, killing the 24-year-old Driver.

Duffield said he is still struggling with the shock from that morning. He's taking a host of medication for back pain and stress. And he's angry with police. He says they put his life in danger.

"There will be legal action taken on this," he said. "They put my life in jeopardy."

Just like any other day

Duffield said there was nothing strange about the call to pick up Driver, who used Leo's Taxi for rides to get to his job as a machinist. He said he pulled into the driveway and began filling out some paperwork while he waited for his customer.

Eventually, Driver emerged from the home and hopped into the back seat carrying a backpack. The two negotiated a $55 flat rate for an out-of-town trip to a shopping mall in London.

There was "absolutely nothing unusual about the call," Duffield said. "We had driven this gentleman on previous occasions to work. He was a very quiet person."

But as Duffield started to back out of the driveway, he heard someone yell "stop" and saw police officers running up to his cab with their guns drawn.

"I'm confused because I don't know why the cops are around my vehicle," Duffield recalled.

When the explosive device was triggered Duffield wasn't sure what had happened.  

"I had no clue at first, I actually thought the cops had shot something through my back window, like tear gas or something, to try to get the guy out of my car," he said.

Then he heard gunfire. Once the smoke cleared, Duffield screamed repeatedly, "I'm only the driver. I'm only the driver." Police ordered him out of the car.

"As soon as my butt left the car seat, I went face first into the gravel, spread eagle, not breathing, not moving," Duffield said. "I didn't want to get shot by a cop."

Legal action

Duffield said police should have done more to protect him.

"I don't think police handled it very well at all," he said. "They did absolutely nothing to help me. At no time did they try to warn me. At no time did they try to stop my vehicle from entering the address."

Duffield attempted to return to work, but said he struggled just getting inside another car. He turned the key and started to sweat almost immediately.

"My whole body started to shake like a leaf in the wind," he said. Then he got out of the car and started vomiting.

In a followup interview with police, Duffield asked why they didn't protect him more that morning. He says he wasn't given an explanation.

He said he has retained a lawyer and plans to pursue legal action.

"This gentleman was allowed to walk in front of my car, down the side of my car, get in my car and all of these sharp-shooters, all these SWAT teams and all these people who were supposed to be around, nobody did anything until after the bomb went off," he said.

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