The Washington Post

Passenger who tries to rob taxi driver in Bowie dies in fire

A passenger who reportedly threw flammable liquid in an attempt to rob a taxi driver Friday set the cab on fire and died in the blaze, authorities said. The taxi driver suffered minor burns.

“It was pretty bizarre,” Bowie Police Chief Chuck Nesky said in an interview on Saturday.

Nesky said the driver for Independent Taxi told police he picked up a fare at the Largo Metro station shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. He drove the passenger about 20 minutes to the 4200 block of Northview Drive, near Md. Route 197 and U.S. 50. The area is a business and restaurant park.

Once there, Nesky said the passenger demanded money from the driver, “struck him in the head and then threw some kind of liquid on him.” He said the cab driver escaped as the liquid caught fire.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and found the passenger’s body in the back seat, Nesky said. The passenger was burned beyond recognition, Nesky said. An official cause of death is pending a ruling from the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The driver sustained minor burns to his upper body.

Nesky said authorities have not determined what kind of liquid was used.

Prince George’s County Police have taken over the investigation.

Peter Hermann covers crime for The Washington Post.

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