Auburn taxi cab driver killed in hit-and-run crash

by: David Ham Updated:

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AUBURN, Wash. - Brian Love, 56, was killed when an SUV barreled into his taxi cab at the intersection of Auburn Way North and East Main Street early Friday morning.

The driver of an SUV ran the red light at Main Street while traveling south on Auburn Way North, Auburn police Cmdr. Mike Hirman said. 

The crash happened at 5:50 a.m.

"It's devastating. It's something that no one hopes to see or happen to their friends," said Vince Cuddy, who owns the cab company where Love worked.

Love was on his way home at the end of his shift.

An Auburn police officials said an officer witnessed the crash. 

"He looked in his rearview mirror and he could see the vehicle wasn't going to stop and that's when he saw the taxi cab come through and then they both collided on the outside of Auburn Lane and Main Street here," said Assistant Chief Bill Pierson.

Pierson said the driver of the SUV ran a red light and when the SUV hit the taxi cab it flipped over. 

A man in his 30s was driving the SUV and there was also a female passenger inside.

The man took off running and the officer went after him. He was caught about a block away. 

The two were taken to the hospital for broken bones. The man was later arrested on vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and reckless driving. Charges are pending.

Officers believe the driver had been drinking. 

Sheryl Comes was Love's fiancée and said that he started driving cabs nine years ago because he wanted to keep drunk drivers off the road.

"His big thing was to get people from drinking and driving, get them in his cab and not let them drink and drive," said Comes.

She added, "A drunk driver killed him; it's just it's not fair. He has so many people around him that love him, just need him."

Love was well known in downtown Auburn, where he was a regular at restaurants and bars. 

"He was a really sweet guy and he took care of the people that he loved," said Shari Bienusa.

Before his friends knew he was involved in a crash, they had a drink waiting for him at one of his favorite restaurants, the Rainbow Cafe. 

Auburn police aren't sure how intoxicated the driver was, but they are sending blood samples to the state crime lab for testing.

Auburn Way and Main Street were closed during the investigation.