A Maryland man who authorities said unleashed a string of racial slurs and water from a garden hose at a Vineyard taxi driver has been placed on 18 months probation and ordered to write a letter of apology.
Duane B. Dillard, 70, of Hagerstown, Md., on Feb. 2 admitted to sufficient facts on a charge of assault and battery to intimidate, and the case was continued without a finding in Edgartown district court.
According to police, Mr. Dillard was among three people who took a cab from downtown Edgartown to the Boldwater area off Pohoganot Road last June 24. On arrival, the driver told them the fare was $49, triggering an expletive-laced reaction from Mr. Dillard, according to police.
Craig Daley of Stagecoach Taxi told police that Mr. Dillard repeatedly called him a “nigger,” threw $50 at him and then retrieved a garden hose. As he sprayed the driver, Mr. Dillard again used the racial slur, Mr. Daley said. And after the police were called, the driver said, Mr. Dillard ordered him off the property and continued calling him names, at one point saying no one would care if he killed the driver because he was a “[expletive] nigger.”
When police arrived, they said they found Mr. Daley sitting in his cab, visibly upset, his upper body drenched and the driver’s side of the cab wet. A witness told police Mr. Daley had “remained calm and respectful through[out] the incident.” Police said Mr. Dillard later admitted to them “his actions were inexcusable.”
Laura Marshard, an assistant district attorney for the Cape and Islands, wanted the Hon. H. Gregory Williams to order Mr. Dillard to perform 100 hours community service, serve two years probation and write an apology.
She said the victim wanted the court to make Mr. Dillard feel as he did that night. “He treated me like a dog,” Ms. Marshard said, quoting the driver, who did not attend the hearing.
At the request of defense attorney John E. Boyle, the judge reviewed letters attesting to the character and charitable work of Mr. Dillard, who had already written an apology to the victim. The sentence included $950 in probation and other fees. In addition, the judge scheduled a restitution hearing for later this year.
“He’s a good man,” Mr. Boyle said in a phone interview this week. “He was, unfortunately, drunk at the time. It’s really not his M.O. He works for a lot of charities in Maryland.”
Reached by phone, Ms. Marshard said the assault revealed an underside to the Island’s reputation as an idyllic retreat. “What we chalk up to alcohol has had a serious impact on [the cab driver’s] life,” she said. “This is an example of disgusting behavior.”
A June 25 restitution hearing was scheduled after Ms. Marshard said the driver had lost income because he had been unable to work for weeks after the confrontation, and also may incur costs for therapy.