Cab driver gets life sentence for mowing down passenger

Guillermo Fernandez
Guillermo Fernandez
Maria Fernandez
Maria Fernandez
Rodney Ryan Foth
Rodney Ryan Foth

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - An Oahu taxi driver, who ran down his passenger after a dispute over change, was sentenced to life in prison before sobbing family members Wednesday.

"Oh God," the convicted cab driver said in court.

Guillermo Fernandez breaks down in tears as he prepares to leave his family.

"I've never seen a more functional family in my entire life," Walter Nelson, pastor, said. "This is a family that meets together, prays together."

The 53-year-old worked as a taxi driver to support his wife and children. But an argument over $2 changed everything.

"Our family is very sorry for what happened," Maria Fernandez, convicted driver's sister, said. "And we hope and pray that you will forgive my brother."

Prosecutors say the cabbie drove his SUV into a customer three times, after the customer complained about being short-changed. A jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Fernandez guilty of attempted murder.

"He wasn't trying to kill this man," Todd Eddins, defense attorney, said. "It's hard to believe the jury was in the same room as the evidence."

The victim, Rodney Ryan Foth, says he's recovering from multiple injuries and has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"I'm sorry to my family, Mr. Foth," Guillermo Fernandez said. "I hope he can forgive me."

With his family sobbing nearby, Fernandez is taken into custody to begin his life sentence.

The victim, a husband and father himself, says he's thankful to have survived.

"I love my wife and my kids very much," Foth said through tears. "There couldn't be a better day than today for me."

The Hawaii parole board will decide how much time Fernandez must serve before he's eligible for release.