By Naeisha Rose
A cab driver from the Bronx will spend more than three years in prison after attacking a fellow driver with a tire iron during a fight at John F. Kennedy Airport, according to prosecutors.
Nathaneal Santana, 28, was sentenced Nov. 14 to one and a half to three years in prison for contempt and an additional three years for assault charges for beating the victim with a tire iron on March 20, 2017, and then for threatening to intimidate the victim after another encounter Aug. 7, 2017.
While outside Terminal Five at JFK on the night of March 20, 2017, prosecutors said Santana spotted the 26-year-old male victim at the arrival gate and immediately threatened him over an earlier disagreement regarding a fare.
According to the charges, when Santana accosted the victim, the defendant said, “I am going to kill you.” Moments later, he returned with a tire iron and struck the victim repeatedly on the head and body.
“The defendant’s vicious attack left the victim in a great deal of pain and in fear for his safety,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The victim suffered lacerations to his head, extensive bleeding and had to receive several staples.”
Port Authority officers tried to apprehend Santana, but after seeing them, he jumped into his car and started driving in and out of traffic. He led the officers on a high-speed pursuit on the Van Wyck Expressway, according to a criminal complaint.
Santana was finally pulled over near North Conduit Avenue and 134th Place, according to the complaint. As the officers searched his vehicle, they recovered the tire iron used to beat Cruz and when asked why he attacked the victim, Santana said, “I was upset.”
When questioned about the high-speed chase he said, “I know I got into a fight and should not have run when the cops said to stop. I ran because I thought those guys were going to jump me,” according to the complaint.
This was not the end of Santana’s trouble, according to the DA’s office.
On Aug. 7, 2017, at Terminal Five at JFK, Santana threatened the same victim, but this time he did so to scare him from pursuing charges. This time the defendant said he was going to “’beat and shoot’” the victim, according to the complaint.
In September 2018, Santana pled guilty to assault and intimidating a witness charges, according to the DA’s office.
Santana will be serving time for the contempt and assault charges concurrently.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose