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Somerset man charged with assault on cab driver

Lawhawn T. Tardy

A Somerset man faces multiple charges after allegedly stiffing a cab driver and then beating up the 73-year-old man outside a New Richmond facility.

The incident, reported outside the Grace Place homeless shelter, led to a felony battery charge against 31-year-old Lawhawn T. Tardy. He's also charged with misdemeanor fraud on a taxicab and three counts of bail jumping.

St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham ordered Tardy to be held on $1,000 cash bond at a July 3 hearing.

According to a criminal complaint:

New Richmond police were called at 4:18 p.m. June 30 to the 505 W. Eighth St. facility for a report of a fight between a cab driver and his passenger.

Officers arrived to learn the suspect had run off behind the building. After taking a description of the suspect, a man matching the description was found leaning against the outside of the building.

The man, whose clothing appeared disheveled and whose lip was cut, denied involvement in the fight. He was cuffed, questioned and identified through his St. Croix County jail ID as Tardy.

The alleged victim, a 73-year-old cabbie, told police he was dispatched to pick up Tardy in Somerset and drive him to Grace Place. When they got there, Tardy said he had no money, which the driver said prompted an argument.

The driver said he told Tardy he was going to call police when pushing and shoving began. A witness to the incident said it wasn't clear who threw the first punch, but the driver said he tripped and Tardy "got some good hits in."

The driver, who sustained injuries to his face, reported his dental plate was broken in half during the incident and would cost at least $1,000 to replace.

Tardy said the driver threw the first punch. He also claimed his girlfriend had prepaid the fare.

Police checked with the girlfriend, who said she had ordered the cab after presenting Tardy with an ultimatum — leave her Somerset home or have the police called — but didn't prepay the fare.

Tardy, who was out on bond on charges of misdemeanor battery and resisting an officer that stemmed from a June 24 incident in St. Croix County, had been released on conditions including absolute sobriety. Officers said he smelled of alcohol during the June 30 incident at Grace Place.

Tardy's preliminary hearing was July 6.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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