Immigrant Taxi Driver Trying To Provide Better Life For Family Loses An Eye While Driving

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An Ethiopian immigrant is having to “relearn everything” after being struck in the eye by a rock Oct. 21 while driving his taxi in Las Vegas, he told a local news outlet.

Tilahun Teginge had been driving taxis for 14 years when police say he was struck in the eye by a father and son who were using a slingshot to shoot rocks on the Las Vegas Strip, according to News3 Las Vegas.

“Windows down, I was talking with my customer. I was chatting with them and suddenly something pop, pop and then hurt me a lot. It was very painful. I tried to control myself because my car was in drive, and I tried to hold my eye and my customers started to call 911. It was big-time bleeding. I’ve never seen blood like that,” Teginge told the outlet.

Doctors were forced to remove Teginge’s left eye at the hospital, which has made things such as depth perception a challenge — something that doesn’t bode well for his job as a taxicab driver, News3 reported. (RELATED: MMA Fighter Mark Martin Suffers Disgusting Eye Injury)

“Things different after that. It’s a tough time because if you work, you make money, you live your life. If you don’t work, you get nothing,” Teginge told the outlet.

Police arrested Enrique Duarte Hildago after reviewing surveillance video and dash cam footage that showed Hildago’s car passing the victim’s taxi while it was stopped at a light on the Strip, News3 reported. Just before Teginge is seen in the footage “yelling out in pain,” Hildago’s car passes his taxi with the driver’s window rolled down, according to News3.

Hildago’s son, a minor, told police he and his father drive down the Strip and occasionally bring their slingshots to deal with the “emotional stress” of his parent’s separation, the outlet reported.

“I don’t even know if they care or have any remorse,” Teginge’s daughter and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, student Blane Cheru, told News3. “But that’s not something to focus on, because what more can you do? You know, you can’t beg for time to go back because that’s not going to happen.”

“He’s having to relearn everything,” Cheru told the outlet about her father.

Police arrested Hidalgo on Nov. 16 on charges of battery with the use of a deadly weapon, child abuse and a number of gross misdemeanors linked to incidents that took place on two nights in October and November, News3 reported.

Teginge, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1999, said he hopes to recover and eventually get back to work, the outlet added.