Beaten Scottsdale cab driver moved to hospice

A 39-year-old cab driver who was taken to the hospital in critical condition after a severe beating earlier this month has been moved to a hospice, Scottsdale police confirmed Monday.

The cab driver, Andrew Carnevale, witnessed an argument between a customer and her boyfriend before becoming involved in a fight with the boyfriend, according to court documents.

Scottsdale police would not discuss whether Carnevale had intervened in the argument as the investigation is ongoing.

Carnevale had only recently begun work as a cab driver, his friend and former roomate Khaled Jurdi said.

Jurdi described Carnevale, a former New Yorker, as “the nicest guy I’ve ever met.”

“He was hungry to change, transform, become a better man and he was relentless in trying to do that.” Jurdi said.

Authorities charged DB Starnes III, 36, with felony aggravated assault against Carnevale, court records show. Starnes is being held on $175,000 bond, according to Maricopa County Sheriff Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.

If Carnevale does not survive, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office would decide whether to prosecute Starnes on additional charges.

Carnevale had picked up Starnes’ girlfriend and another couple from a Scottsdale bar at about 1 a.m. Feb. 3, court records show. The friends had been bar hopping and requested a cab to take them to an apartment near Camelback and Miller roads.

Starnes and his girlfriend had argued earlier in the night and he’d returned home after separating from the group, court records show.

When Carnevale dropped the trio off, Starnes argued with his girlfriend as she exited the cab, court records show. A 911 caller reported hearing a man and woman screaming at each other. Another 911 caller said they saw a woman get pushed to the ground.

An altercation between Starnes and Carnevale ensued, according to court records. Starnes told police he defended himself after Carnevale attacked him while his girlfriend screamed at him.

Police said Carnevale sustained severe head trauma in the fight and reportedly suffered seizures, court records show. He almost died at the scene and became comatose, police wrote in a probable cause statement.

Emergency crews transported Carnevale to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center where he remained until he was discharged to a hospice facility this past weekend.

Starnes had fled the scene of the fight, but police discovered him a couple hours later hiding underneath a staircase, court records show.

Scottsdale police noted Starnes, who had moved to Scottsdale from Michigan a week before the incident, had a swollen right hand with scrapes and pieces of skin hanging from it, according to courts document. He also had a scraped knee, which police say occurred when he and Carnevale fell to the ground during the fight. The arresting officer wrote that the amount of force Starnes reportedly used against Carnevale was neither “necessary or reasonable.”

Jurdi described Carnevale as an introverted, shy and non-confrontational person who would have not have started a fight with anyone.

“When he talks you can barely hear his voice,” Jurdi said.

Working as a cab driver had renewed Carnevale’s spirits, his sense for adventure and a passion for writing screenplays after he’d struggled to make ends meet at a previous job, another friend, Jeffrey Herman, said.

“The last time I saw him, he was the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” Herman said.

Herman has set up a website for friends and family to post photos and stories and share memories of Carnevale. It is also accepting donations to help Carnevale’s family with medical expenses. To donate, visit www.andrewcarnevale.com.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2015/02/16/beaten-scottsdale-cab-driver-moved-hospice/23525429/