Taxi driver faces at least 10 years in prison on kidnapping charge

Prosecutors allege he 'unlawfully seized and confined' Yukon victim in extortion attempt

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Million Demissie Woldeyes

By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

A taxi driver faces not less than 10 years in prison if convicted on a felony kidnapping charge.

Oklahoma City’s Million Demissie Woldeyes, 49, was charged Oct. 15 in Canadian County District Court with kidnapping for extortion. Yukon Police investigated the Oct. 1 crime.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Oglesby alleges Woldeyes violated state law “by unlawfully forcibly seizing and confining” a Yukon resident “without lawful authority for the purpose of extorting money” from the victim.

The allegations against the defendant are detailed in a Yukon police report.

Officer Taylor Hughes and Sgt. Todd Hawthorne responded around 1 p.m. Oct. 1 to the 7-Eleven at 600 W Vandament on a welfare check.

A woman told the officers the taxi driver, later identified as Woldeyes, “had left with her husband in the back seat of the taxi in a reckless manner.”

The couple had called a taxi for a ride to Oklahoma City to look for a car after a family member was unable to take them. Woldeyes reportedly seemed mad when he arrived at their apartment 45 minutes to an hour later.

A couple minutes into the taxi ride, the family member called back and was able to pick them up – so the wife told Woldeyes they did not need the taxi anymore and to drop them off at the 7-Eleven.

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The police report indicates Woldeyes then started hitting the steering wheel and driving recklessly to the convenience store, claiming he “drove an hour to pick them up and wanted money for the taxi ride.”

The wife went into 7-Eleven and got $15 which she gave to Woldeyes. But the taxi driver allegedly demanded more money, even locking the vehicle’s door.

The husband told Woldeyes he had no money and his wife went back into the store trying to get more cash, according to the police report.

As she walked out of the store, the driver reportedly sped off on Holly toward N.W. 10th.

“(The victim) stated as Woldeyes was driving in a reckless manner, he was hitting the steering wheel and stated ‘I’m going to take you to the city and drop you somewhere’,” officer Hughes wrote in his report. “(He) informed me he had to pull the unlock tab on the door and jump out of the car as it began to slow down near N.W. 10th St. (He) stated he ran through the grass and began walking back to 7-Eleven.”

Sgt. Jose Gomez found the man in the 2200 block of S Holly and brought him to the scene at 7-Eleven. He was visibly shaken and said he did not want to leave in the taxi, according to the police report.

Sgt. Hawthorne contacted Woldeyes by phone after getting his name from the taxi company, asking him to return to 7-Eleven so he could “get his side of the story.” But the taxi driver said he couldn’t return because he had other fares to pick up.

At Hawthorne’s request, Woldeyes ultimately came to the Yukon Police Department and was arrested shortly before 3 p.m. on the kidnapping for extortion complaint. He was booked into jail.