Cab driver attacker pleads guilty to hate crime

Cab driver attacker pleads guilty to hate crime
Luis A. Vazquez is seen in King County Superior Court on Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
SEATTLE -- A 21-year-old man who brutally beat a cab driver last fall while calling him an "Iraqi terrorist" pleaded guilty Thursday to a hate crime charge.

Prosecutors said they will ask that Luis Vazquez be sentenced to 2 years in prison for the November 24 beating of Sukhvir Singh.

According to court documents, Vazquez was kicked out of the Apple Cup at Husky stadium and placed into a cab by two police officers who told the driver that Vazquez was drunk and needed to be taken to his home in Kent.

While the cab was southbound on Interstate 5, Vazquez began punching Singh in the head while calling him a terrorist. The incident was also captured on the cab's dashboard camera.

Singh, 48, pulled over and tried to run away, but witnesses told state troopers that Vazquez followed him, knocked him to the ground and continued to kick him in the head.

"I can not imagine anybody who can do this to me," Singh said from his hospital bed shortly after the attack. "He said to me 'you are a terrorist, you did the 9-11, and I will kill you.'"

Singh said he knew he was being attacked because of the way he looks. He's not Iraqi -- he's Sikh.

Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced April 18 in King County Superior Court, and prosecutors say they will also ask the court to order Vazquez to pay for Singh's medical expenses.