Chattanooga cab driver shot in head posted photo of cash

Chattanooga cab driver shot in head posted photo of cash

April 21st, 2012 by Adam Poulisse in News

Chattanooga police department works the scene of a shooting Wednesday on Ocoee Street.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga cab driver shot in the head Wednesday had posted a photo on Facebook showing a wad of money he earned while on the job, including everything from $1 bills to a plainly visible $100 bill.

Nathan Deere, 32, who rented his vehicle from Millennium Taxi, was found Wednesday evening on Ocoee Street, sitting in the driver's seat of his cab with a gunshot wound to the head. He died Thursday.

Tim Duckett, owner of Millennium Taxi, said Deere "probably shouldn't have" made the Facebook post on April 3, and he speculates that the photo could have led to his death.

"I don't know if that's something that caused people to try to seek him out," Duckett said.

Chattanooga police spokesman Nathan Hartwig declined to comment Friday on the motive for the crime.

Christopher C. Padgett, 18, was arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting. He faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon, Hartwig said.

Deere's family, who live in Oklahoma, declined to comment on his death but said a fund has been set up at Chase Bank, as well as through Millennium Taxi, to get Deere's body back to his family for burial.

Duckett said Deere "loved being a taxi driver. He was one of those guys that you meet and like right away."

He said he is "saddened" and in "complete shock" about Deere's death but added that when contract cab drivers post something on their personal websites, it's "out of [the company's] reach."

Nearly 60 Millennium Taxi cabs serve the Chattanooga area, Duckett said.

The fatal shooting now has him looking to ask the City Council for funds to help maximize driver safety by installing plastic shields between the front and rear seats. Such shields are often seen in bigger cities such as New York, Duckett said.

"Smaller companies can't afford it," he said.

Recently, Millennium Taxi acquired about six or seven new vehicles, Duckett said. The new vehicles, which do not yet have the required permits to operate, came equipped with the protective shields, he said.

"It's ironic that we get these in and then one of these incidents occurred," Duckett said.