Taxi driver loses permit after not disclosing he hit parked car

A San Luis Obispo taxicab driver lost his permit to pick up patrons in the city for not disclosing that he’d been involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident.

The City Council upheld police Chief Deborah Linden’s denial of Paul McGill’s renewal for his taxi-driver permit Tuesday citing concerns that he had been dishonest on the application.

McGill appealed Linden’s decision to the City Council saying that he hadn’t disclosed the accident because a final ruling hadn’t been issued by the court when he applied for the renewal.

The accident occurred in November around 1:30 a.m. in downtown San Luis Obispo when McGill was driving a Surf Cab Co. taxicab.

According to Linden, a police officer saw McGill hit a parked vehicle with his cab and then speed away.

He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor hit-and-run and later pleaded no contest to a charge of providing false information to a peace officer. As part of the plea agreement, the hit-and-run charge was dismissed.

McGill, who has been a cab driver for 15 years, said he left the scene because he didn’t think he had damaged the vehicle that he hit.

“I don’t think a bump on a bumper is grounds to take away a living,” McGill told the council Tuesday.

Linden denied the renewal because he did not disclose the accident when the application instructed him to do so. His conviction of providing false information to an officer was also a violation of “moral turpitude” — which is also grounds for denying a renewal.

The city will not issue taxi-driving permits to anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving a sexual offense, weapons offense, robbery, manslaughter, moral turpitude, pandering, using, selling or transporting narcotics or imparting information for obtaining narcotics.

The City Council chastised McGill for not being honest but directed Linden to allow him to reapply again in a year.

“It is a matter of rebuilding trust,” said Councilman John Ashbaugh.