WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The cab driver, who was assaulted by a Marine, is scheduled for reconstructive surgery Thursday. Hear what Charles Hawkesworth was thinking as the assault was happening.
In the meantime, the Marine accused of the beating, is now facing felony charges. Gunnery Sgt. John Adam Kinosh is currently in the care of a psychiatric facility in Wilmington.
Hawkesworth has several facial fractures and will get a titanium plate to fix the damage. He told reporter Sanah Sayani that he has injuries from his sinuses, to his eye sockets to his cheekbones.
Charles Hawkesworth gave a phone interview before his surgery. He details what he was thinking at the time he was being assaulted.
Here's the transcript of that interview:
Sanah: When this whole thing was going down, what was going through your mind?
Charles: At first I thought the gentleman was pretty rude. Because when I called in and told the dispatch that we were on our way to Sneads Ferry, he started arguing with me that it was on Holly Ridge. But like I do with almost everybody that gets in my cab, I try to be familiar with them and try to develop a rapport...it would make his experience better. I just tried to explain to him that technically we're in Sneads Ferry but we have a Holly Ridge address, because I live right around the corner. I have the same thing. And he got pretty upset. And, it started to get pretty loud right then. When he was telling me he's in Holly Ridge and not Sneads Ferry. But I kind of let it slide because some people just aren't the happiest when they go home. I mean, I don't know if the bar cut him off, or if he had a fight at the bar. I was just kind of letting things work themselves out. But, uh, when he asked me to pull over, that he wanted to get out, I was really just hoping that he was gonna get out. But, it just didn't end up that way.
Sanah: When he started physically assaulting you, what was the mindset at that point when this man is blowing punches at you like that?
Charles: The only thing on my mind was just to defend myself. In the back of my mind, throughout the whole thing, I remember hearing Jerry, our dispatcher, try to call and see what was going on because I hadn't called-in in a while. I remember hearing that while he was trying to go at me. I remember trying to lunge at him to try to close the distance between us, so he wouldn't have enough swing on him, but I got caught by the seatbelt, and I couldn't reach out, and I couldn't get close to him. I just had to eventually sit there and take it.
Sanah: Do you think that after looking at the video now, what you did, did you think you did the right thing or do you think you should've done something different?
Charles: I feel that I did everything right. I mean, I tried to calm him down. I tried to reason with him. I tried to explain to him, you know, what was going on, that we were just trying to get home. And to split a cab with a fellow Marine, you know that's normally never a problem. Because, you know, that's one Marine helping another Marine out. And when they do split cabs, they only pay half of the fare. So, I mean, I was just trying to help the guy out.
Sanah: When you first watched the video, was it exactly how you remember going through it? Did it have a different shock value?
Charles: When it was happening to me, I was more afraid than anything else, because I figured...when he started screaming at me, I figured something right then wasn't right, and it wasn't going to be very pretty. I remember watching everything happen right in front of me. But, in watching the video, it put everything into perspective because I honestly didn't realize that he went for the keys and I stopped him from doing that. I don't even remember that part. But most of it was just fear.
Sanah: You even at one point, when the passenger was ‘you took my hat, find my hat', you even tried to help him. What was in your mind at that point? Were you trying to get him out of the car?
Charles: I just wanted him to be as far away from me as possible... to get his hat and just get away from me. I was trying to see, but honestly I couldn't. I didn't have my glasses on. And all I could see, really, was blood.
Sanah: I'm glad that you're in such good spirits after all this. He is currently just charged with misdemeanor charges. How do you feel about him being charged with only misdemeanors? Do you think this should be a felony charge or not? [UPDATE: Kinosh now faces felony charges]
Charles: With this surgery that I'm facing I think it should be a felony charge. I mean, he's a Marine and he's trained to do what he does...and that's what he did to me, you know?
Sanah: Him walking into a mental asylum, a psychiatric department, the next morning, what does that mean to you, how does that make you feel?
Charles: I mean, if that's what he's going through, you know, if that's what it is, then he definitely needs help. But I don't think that's a very valid thing. Cuz, I mean, this could happen to anyone. He could've been on a Jacksonville city bus, you know, just traveling around, and it could've been some old woman sitting next to him and he'd just snap and happen to her.
I mean, this could've been anyone, anywhere at any time. Unfortunately, it was just being in my cab.
Sanah: Have you encountered anybody like that before? Was this the first time you actually felt like you were in danger?
Charles: This was definitely the first time I've ever felt that I was in any danger. There's some people that you get that just don't respect you as a cab driver. And I mean, I've been cussed at, I've been yelled at, but it doesn't really bother you, you know? You're there to help people out, and if some people aren't as appreciative as others, 'oh well', there's 10 people behind them that are. But, this was definitely the first time that I've ever felt myself to be in any real danger.
Sanah: Are you going to go back to driving cabs? Or are you going to choose another career path?
Charles: If we can find a way to keep it safe, then I would like to go back to this job. I love being a cab driver.
Sanah: Anything else? Anything that you've read of seen that you want to set the record straight or comment on?
Charles: Be honest with ya, I haven't really read or seen much of anything. I've been spending most of my time just sleeping. Cuz they've got me on pain medication. I really can't get up and get around much. I mean, it just is what it is. It's crazy. I can't even put it into words.
Sanah: What are your injuries right now?
Charles: To the best of my knowledge, I spoke with a specialist in Jacksonville yesterday, and I have several facial fractures, and it's from my sinuses, to my eye sockets, to my cheekbones. It's a triangular area that's been broken off of the rest of my skull. And they need to do reconstructive surgery. And re-attach that piece of my skull with three or four plates.
Sanah: Anything else?
Charles: Other than the surprising outreach from the community, that's about it.
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