In Memory of Drifter
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Slain driver had just begun job.
His first night as a taxi driver, the Riverside man was shot to death.
By Lisa O'Neill The Press Enterprise
Frank Charles Hardt's first night as a Yellow Cab driver turned out to be his last.
Found shot to death in his cab with it's lights on, engine running and doors open, the 54-year-old Riverside man was killed before he could finish his inaugural shift as a cabbie, police said.
Authorities found Hardt's body inside his cab on North Turrill Avenue in San Bernardino about 1:45 a.m. Sunday. San Bernardino police Detective Steve Filson said Hardt had been inside his cab about three hours before he was found.
Carolyn Bryan, manager of the Cottonwood Mobile Home Park In Riverside where Hardt had lived Since Feb. 16, said she worried about Hardt ever since he told her he was going to take a job as a taxi driver.
"My stomach turned right over." Bryan said. "The thought went through my head, for crying out loud, don't get shot."
About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Bryan found two detectives at her door who told her that Hardt had been killed.
"He was a very likable gentleman, very friendly," she said.
Hardt, who lived with a pair of dogs named Peg and Foxie, belonged to a motorcycle riders club and had lived in the Riverside mobile home park for only a month. He had previous addresses in Corona and Moreno Valley, police said, and had family in Washington and Wisconsin.
No suspects have been identified, but Filson said Hardt had received a call from someone in the northwest area of Riverside who needed a ride to San Bernardino. "The last the cab company knew, he was en route to another location," Filson said.
The detective declined to release further details in the case, including whether robbery appeared to be a motive. But he said there was no Indication that Hardt knew his assailant.
Bob Chafin, general manager of Yellow Cab, declined to comment, citing the police investigation.
Bryan, meanwhile, is trying to find a home for the dogs Hardt adored. "They're trained just beautifully," she said. "Those dogs were just extremely vital and important to him."
Anyone with information on the slaying is asked to call Detective Filson at 384-5643.