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Cabbie charged in vehicular assault

A cab driver furious he was required to drive his fares from midtown to the Bronx rammed two of them with his taxi before fleeing, critically injuring one and seriously wounding the other, police said yesterday.

Mohammed Azam was arrested on charges of vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident and was awaiting arraignment in Manhattan criminal court.

Police said four men hailed Azam's cab at about 4 a.m. Sunday in Manhattan and asked to be taken to the Bronx after they got inside. Azam refused, according to police, saying it was too far away - a typical but illegal complaint by yellow cab drivers who don't want to head into the outer boroughs because it's not worth the money to make the lengthy trip.

But the men knew that once they were in the cab, the driver was required by law to take them to their destination - and they got into an argument that culminated with the driver stopping at a midtown police precinct, authorities said.

The four passengers and Azam went inside, where officers told the taxi driver he was required to take the fares where they wanted to go. As they left the precinct, Azam got to the cab first, locked the doors, backed up and rammed two of the passengers before driving off, police said.

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