Taxi abandons Jack (83) in snow, mile from home

Jack Stanworth
Jack Stanworth

A furious daughter has vowed never to use a taxi firm again after her 83-year-old dad was abandoned in the snow and forced to walk his last mile home.

Life-long Clarets supporter Jack Stanworth, of Crow Wood Avenue, Burnley, was told to get out of his black cab at the top of Pendle Way, near to where the Derby pub used to stand.

He watched the Crystal Palace game at Turf Moor and caught the pre-paid cab at 6-12pm after having a drink in the Miners’ Club with his son-in-law, Bernie Wilson.

“The roads were not bad when we put Jack in the cab,” said Mr Wilson. “We could not believe what happened. It took him the best part of an hour to walk home. He had a hip replacement last June and walks with a stick, yet the driver told him to get out of the cab and walk because, he said, Pendle Way was too dangerous to go down.

“The road was fine. It was the pavements that were worse.”

Mr Stanworth’s daughter, Kathryn, was distressed when she found out what happened, especially because had her dad fallen it was more than likely he would not have been spotted and could have lain helpless for hours in the freezing temperature.

“What they did was to abandon an 83 year old with a stick in very inclement weather and tell him to walk the best part of a mile. Jack was cold and upset when he phoned to tell us. I could not understand it, I was astounded” said Mr Wilson. “He said cars passed him on the way. I rang Euro Cars and they said it should not have happened. They had not carried out their part of the contract, but said the road was very bad and because black cabs were different it couldn’t get down there.”

The response prompted Mr Wilson to make his own enquiries on Burnley Lancashire Facebook page about conditions that evening. “I didn’t say what happened, just asked if anyone had problems getting down Pendle Way,” he said. “People had had no trouble at all, the road was fine, and some had even had taxis at 1-30 in the morning.”

The taxi firm offered to pick Mr Stanworth up and take him home without charge for two games to make up for the error, but Mrs Wilson is standing firm.

The taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said: “I told the gentleman I would drop him off as close to his house as I could get, and he said OK.

“I had no idea how old he was. I was focussed on driving in the road conditions. Black cabs are not good in snow, they are nowhere near as good as cars. It was heavy snow when I picked him up, and I had dropped other people off on the main road.

“When I came to the roundabout I turned downhill, down Pendle Way, and the vehicle skidded. I had to stop it against the pavement and it was lucky there was no accident. There was a big queue of cars there and I knew I could have crashed into any of them if we had carried on.

“The gentleman said he was OK. I did not force him to get out. I did not work after dropping him off. It was too dangerous. His was my last job.”