Cab driver, shot twice in the head, talks about ordeal - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Cab driver, shot twice in the head, talks about ordeal

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Milton Odom (Source: CBS 5 News) Milton Odom (Source: CBS 5 News)

Milton Odom of Phoenix is recovering from two bullet wounds to the head.

The cab driver was gunned down on the job less than two weeks ago.

"I've driven almost 500 shifts, almost 10,000 passengers," said Odom.

The 46-year-old said he hadn't had any real problems during his two-year career until Aug. 23 around noon.

"It just felt weird," Odom recalled.

He picked up a man near Country Club Drive and 9th Place in Mesa who slid into the backseat directly behind him.

"I'm a pretty tall person," Odom said. "So, I told him, 'You're probably not going to be very comfortable there. You might want to sit on the other side,' and he didn't move over. He's like, 'We're going a short distance. We'll be fine.'"

Odom didn't get far once the meter starting running.

"We get about three blocks in and I hear a loud bang," Odom said. "And I grabbed the side of my head and realized he shot me."

The man, identified as 28-year-old Matthew Howardell, then jumped out of the cab – shooting Odom a second time in the head.

"I was shocked at how much blood there was," said Odom.

In both wounds, the bullet traveled under Odom's scalp - but didn't penetrate his skull.

"The only thing I can say is God was with me," Odom said. "I don't know what he has in store for me. But, it's definitely not what Matthew Howardell had in store for me."

Mesa police arrested Howardell about an hour after the shooting – in the back of another cab.

He's now behind bars, charged with aggravated assault.

"I hope he gets what's coming to him," said Odom. "And while he's away – I hope he's able to get the help that he needs."

Odom tells CBS 5 News he's taking a month to recover physically and emotionally – but he's looking forward to getting back in the cab and seeing his regular customers again.

"I have to get that trust back," said Odom. "I've done it 10,000 times until this one incident. So I can't let the one incident stop me from interacting with people on that level."

Odom, who doesn't have health insurance, spent two days in the hospital after the shooting and he estimates his medical bills are more than $100,000.

So his fellow cabbies are teaming up with Wash Wizard for a fundraiser.

On Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the car wash will donate 35 percent of proceeds to offset Odom's medical bills.

Wash Wizard is located at 1845 E. University Dr. just east of McClintock.

Baristas, a coffee shop next door to Wash Wizard, will also be donating a portion of its proceeds.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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