Naomi Campbell’s driver tells police she hit him from back seat of luxury SUV in NYC, ran away

By Colleen Long, AP
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NYC driver tells police Naomi Campbell hit him

NEW YORK — A man hired to drive Naomi Campbell told police the supermodel assaulted him from the back seat of a luxury SUV on Tuesday before hopping out and running away.

Police were looking to speak with Campbell, who is known for her feisty temper, and were weighing whether to charge her.

A spokesman for Campbell, who has previously pleaded guilty to assaulting people hired to work for her, said she’ll cooperate with police.

“There shouldn’t be a rush to judgment,” spokesman Jeff Raymond said. “Naomi will cooperate voluntarily, and there is more to the story than meets the eye.”

The driver, whose name wasn’t immediately released, told police he pulled the black Cadillac Escalade over in midtown Manhattan after Campbell hit him from behind and his head struck the steering wheel, causing bruising under his right eye. He spoke to a traffic agent, who alerted police. Campbell was not at the scene when officers arrived, police said.

The 27-year-old driver, apparently hired just for the day, told police he picked Campbell up at a Manhattan hotel and was taking her to Astoria Studios, a TV and film studio complex in Queens, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.

Campbell’s assistant spoke to police, but authorities were still looking to talk to the 39-year-old model Tuesday night. The driver was at a police precinct.

Campbell has faced a series of lawsuits and criminal cases accusing her of attacking her household employees and two police officers at London’s Heathrow Airport.

She pleaded guilty in the Heathrow case in June 2008 after prosecutors said she cursed, kicked and spat at police in a rage over a missing piece of luggage; she was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

She also did a week of community service sweeping floors and scrubbing toilets in a Manhattan garbage-truck garage in 2007 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault for hurling a cell phone at her maid because of a vanished pair of jeans.

In 2000, Campbell pleaded guilty in Toronto to an assault charge for beating an assistant who said the model whacked her on the head with a phone.

A few of Campbell’s former aides and maids have sued her, accusing her of violent outbursts; some cases have been settled on undisclosed terms.

Campbell, of Britain, became one of the world’s highest-paid models after being discovered at age 15.

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