Man charged with stealing cop car

A routine traffic stop took a dramatic turn in Center City tonight when a passerby stole a police cruiser and crashed into a cab.

The surprising scene started to unfold at 5:17 p.m., when a patrol cop got out of his cruiser after stopping a taxi for a traffic violation at 12th and Market streets, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.

The passerby, identified by cops as Derrick Taylor, 28, darted into the empty cruiser and sped towards the officer, Vanore said. The cop moved out of the way, and Taylor plowed into the same cab that had been stopped by the officer.

The cab driver, whose name was not released, was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital for minor neck and back injuries. Taylor, of Lebanon Avenue near 52nd Street, was charged with assault on police and vehicle theft, Vanore said. Taylor had seven prior arrests, on charges that included weapons violations and theft, he said.