Cabbie Ramon Estevez's routine call quickly turned into a crime scene he will never forget.
"I heard screaming. I was still on the road, I was doing a U-turn," the Tampa cab driver said Tuesday.
He was going to pick up a customer, around 2 a.m. Monday from a laundromat on Hillsborough Avenue. As soon as he pulled up, she dashed to his window, crying hysterically.
"I tried to calm her down. I said, 'It's ok. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you,' " Estevez said.
Tampa police say a man, caught on surveillance video without any pants on, stalked the woman from a behind a dumpster as she smoked a cigarette while her clothes finished drying. He then darted out, tackled her to the ground inside the empty Laundromat and attempted to rape her.
Estevez's Crown Victoria cab rolled up right in time to scare the armed suspect away.
"From a far, at night, they confuse us for cops all the time," Estevez said.
Estevez, who recently moved to Tampa from the Bronx, got out his baseball bat, locked the woman inside the cab, collected her laundry, and called 911.
Tampa police are still trying to track down the suspect.
"Fortunately, she's ok. He was not able to sexually batter her. But someone who's this brazen and bold, we certainly want to get him off the streets before he does hurt someone, and it's only a matter of time before he does," said Tampa Police Department's Andrea Davis.
The woman called Estevez her hero. He says it was just part of his job of getting her home safe and sound.
"I'm just glad I got there at the right time. God forbid if I got there five minutes late. I guess God sees everything, huh?" he said.
The suspect is dangerous and police want him off the streets. If you know who he is, call Tampa Police Department at 813-231-6130 or you can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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