Western New Jersey

Unlicensed taxi driver discovered after student catches ride

Second report of illegal taxis in Hackettstown.

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. - Police in Hackettstown, New Jersey police are warning residents about riding in unregistered taxis with unlicensed taxi drivers behind the wheel.

This after a 7-year-old student got a ride to school and officials called the police to say an unknown car had dropped the child off.

Hackettstown police say it's not uncommon for students to take a taxi to school.

"It is just a thing that we've seen in upcoming years," said Hackettstown Police Sgt. Darren Tynan.

"A lot of kids, especially the young kids, are taking taxis. Not sure if that has to do with both parents working and they need a ride to school."

What is uncommon is for an unlicensed taxi to provide the ride.

The latest incident took place a week ago at Willow Grove Elementary school.

"A 7-year-old student there was dropped off by an unknown man in an unknown vehicle," said Tynan.

An investigator found out the driver was not driving a car registered as a taxi in Hackettstown and the man was not licensed as a taxi driver even though he said he worked for the local company, Metro Car Service.

"According to him, he does work for Mr. Rojas. But he does not have a license to be picking up anybody in the town of Hackettstown."

To operate a taxi in town, you must be approved and registered with the police.

69 News called Metro Car service to speak with the owner Sergio Rojas, and he hung up the phone on us twice.

"Make sure you know who you are getting into a car with and not just children, it goes adults as well," said Tynan.

Police say this is the second report of a person in an illegal taxi.

The second incident took place on Thanksgiving and the rider was actually robbed.

"There are no legal taxis in Hackettstown that are not painted yellow," added Tynan.

"So if you are calling a Hackettstown taxi service and it comes up without a yellow taxi cab, it is not a registered taxi cab in town."

Police say they know the situation could have been a lot worse.

They are thankful the school and the owner of the company called to inform police what happened.

The case is still under investigation and the owner of the company faces a possible fine and the possibility of losing his operator's license.

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