Two women died in taxi cab crash early Tuesday after a violent series of incidents that involved one of them allegedly attacking the cab's driver with a blade, police said.

The episode began when the two women flagged down the cab in the eastern Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights and asked to be driven to a nearby apartment complex, police Officer Sara Faden said.

When they arrived, the women told the driver that the boyfriend of one of them would come down to pay their fare, Faden said. But the man that approached the cab pulled out a handgun instead, she said.

The cab driver sped away with the women still in the back seat, Faden said. One of the women began cutting the driver in the neck and face with a knife or box cutter, causing him to lose control and crash the cab.

The driver was ejected from the vehicle and was hospitalized in critical condition, Faden said. The women were declared dead at the scene, she said.