New York Uber driver charged with manslaughter in death of teen car surfer

Ryan Mullen, 15, and two friends, both age 16, called for an Uber after a night of drinking and partying, prosecutors said.

Nov. 5, 2018 / 2:47 PM CST / Updated Nov. 5, 2018 / 3:32 PM CST

By Janelle Griffith

A New York Uber driver is facing manslaughter charges in the death of a teenager who prosecutors say fell from the roof of the driver's vehicle while “car surfing” after a night of drinking in September.

Danyal Cheema, 24, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter at his arraignment Monday in First District Court in Central Islip. The judge set his bail at $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond. Cheema's license was suspended and he is scheduled to return to court Friday.

Danyal Cheema is accused of letting a teenager "car surf" on his vehicle in September.Suffolk County District Attorney's Office

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said the victim, Ryan Mullen, suffered a traumatic brain injury after he was allowed to ride on the roof of Cheema's Toyota Highlander.

Mullen, 15, and two friends, both 16, ordered an Uber after a night of drinking and partying, prosecutors said. The boys allegedly offered Cheema $70 to allow two of them to ride on the roof of the vehicle as it was moving, while the third recorded a video to post on social media.

The teens withdrew their offer after deciding $70 was too much, prosecutors said. But after getting into the vehicle and traveling some distance, they later made Cheema a $40 offer to car surf that he accepted, Sini said.

Mullen and another teen mounted the vehicle, while the third recorded video on Snapchat, authorities said. Mullen fell from the Highlander as it drove away, striking his head on the pavement, Sini said. Cheema drove the teens to their destination. Mullen sustained a fractured skull and died in his sleep later that night, Sini said. Mullen's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

"This was an incredibly bad decision by the defendant, a bad decision by the boys involved, obviously," Sini said. "But at the end of the day, that defendant is an adult contracted to safely bring those boys home. And he failed to do that."

Cheema faces up to 15 years if convicted.

Study blames Uber, Lyft for spike in US traffic deaths

by Justin King October 25, 2018, 4:38 pm

The research claims ride-hailing services are behind the mysterious increase in traffic deaths since 2011.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft may be to blame for the recent increase in US traffic deaths, according to a University of Chicago and Rice University study (PDF).

Researchers analyzed localized statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and compared the traffic fatalities with the dates that Uber or Lyft first launched in various cities.

The study's authors point out that traffic deaths had fallen steeply in the US from 1985 through 2010, when ride-hailing first launched, and have since reversed course and increased. Consistent with the staggered rollout of such services, the arrival of Uber and Lyft is associated with a 2-3 percent increase in traffic mortalities since 2011.

"A naïve view of the effects of ridesharing merely views ridesharing as removing drivers who would have driven themselves with their car and replacing them with rideshare drivers," the study says. "This naïve view, however, ignores many of the nuanced effects of substituting driving oneself with being driven by a rideshare driver."

The authors say that drivers have riders in their car for only a small fraction of the time they are driving on the road. They drive empty from fare to fare and frequently relocate to different areas of a city that might provide better prospects.

The study admits that pooling services such as LyftLine and UberPool may increase ridership and reverse the trend. For now, however, the short-term fatality trend appears to be increasing.

The study may soon be irrelevant as companies such as Waymo prepare to roll out driverless taxi services. Further research will presumably focus on the accident and death rates as increasing numbers of driverless vehicles begin operating alongside human-piloted vehicles.

Uber driver arrested after passenger shot dead

Police were called by a witness from a highway in the city of Denver, Colorado, following the attack on Friday.

By Lucia Binding, news reporter

An Uber driver has been arrested in the US on suspicion of first-degree murder in the shooting of one of his passengers.

Michael Andre Hancock, 29, is accused of killing Hyun Kim, 45, during an incident in the early hours of Friday morning in Denver, Colorado.

Police were called by a witness shortly before 3am from a highway in the city, reporting that "an Uber driver… said his ride tried to attack him and the driver shot him," an officer stated in a court document.

Mr Kim was lying fatally wounded on the front passenger seat floor of the Sedan vehicle, which had stopped on a ramp, and officers failed to revive him.

Police arrested the driver at the scene.

They allegedly found a semi-automatic pistol in his waistband and later recovered 10 spent .40-caliber cartridges plus a blood trail on the shoulder of the highway.

The Denver Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Mr Kim.

US media is reporting that he is originally from South Korea but had been living near the city.

An Uber spokesman said of the incident: "We are deeply troubled by the events in Denver today," according to local media.

The ridesharing company has been linked to similar controversies in the past.

Police in Michigan charged an Uber driver with six counts of murder after he reportedly went on a killing spree two years ago through the city of Kalamazoo.

The driver, Jason Dalton, allegedly confessed.

Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon

Bree Burkitt and Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 9:02 p.m. MT March 19, 2018 | Updated 11:14 p.m. MT March 19, 2018

The operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction.

A representative for Uber declined to comment on the conviction and the company's hiring policies, citing an active investigation.

Elaine Herzberg  was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.

Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator, who has been identified as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, behind the wheel at the time of the crash. 

Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Elcock said impairment did not initially appear to be a factor for either Vasquez or Herzberg. He added it was not apparent that the vehicle attempted to slow down while it approached Herzberg.

Court records show Vasquez has a criminal record in Arizona under a different legal name. 

Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show Vasquez served three years and 10 months in a state prison for convictions on attempted armed robbery and unsworn falsification. She was released from prison in 2005. 

The autonomous vehicles have been used to shuttle Uber passengers in parts of Tempe and Scottsdale. Riders who are picked up by a self-driving cars would likely recognize them from the presence of the exterior sensors. 

The San Francisco-based company recently came under fire for hiring felons. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission company fined Uber's parent company $8.9 million in November 2017 after an investigation determined the ride-hailing service had hired nearly 60 drivers with previous felony convictions.

Colorado state law prevents individuals with felony convictions, alcohol or drug-related driving offenses, unlawful sexual offenses and major traffic violations from working for rideshare companies.

Uber attributed the unlawful hirings to a "process area" inconsistent with Colorado's ridesharing regulations. The company said all drivers must undergo a third-party background screening "per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations."

Uber has more than 18,000 contract drivers and 1,000 employees in Arizona, with most staffers at the downtown Phoenix operations center.

Close to 300 people worked in the self-driving operations in Tempe as of November 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man dies when Uber driver slams into car off Gulf Freeway

Autumn Rendall | March 3, 2018

An Uber driver slammed into a stalled car on the Gulf Freeway feeder road around 10 p.m. Friday, killing a man whose car was stalled on the road.

The man was driving southbound on Gulf Freeway near FM 2351 when his car broke down and he was stopped in the right lane. Another man in an SUV pulled over to give the car a jump start, while the stalled car's driver stood in front of his vehicle.


Police have not arrested the driver.

Author:Kristen Reed

Published:1:36 AM EST February 19, 2018

A person is dead and an UberEATS driver is on the run after a late-night shooting on Pharr Court South at The Concorde Condominiums in Buckhead.

According to police, 30-year-old Ryan Thornton of Atlanta, identified by the medical examiner, ordered food Saturday, Feb. 17 using the UberEATS app. As he was walking away from the driver around 11:30 p.m., words were exchanged between the two.

That's when police say the driver fired several shots, striking Thornton several times. The driver fled the scene in a white Volkswagen. At the time, police have not made any arrests.

Thornton was taken to Grady Hospital in critical condition and later died.

UberEATS is a smartphone app used to order takeout food from restaurants. Drivers for the company pick up the food and deliver it to the customer.

“We are shocked and saddened by this news," said an Uber spokesperson. "We are working with Atlanta Police, and our hearts go out to the families of those involved.”

11Alive reached out to family, who did not wish to speak publicly just yet. However, Thornton's uncle told 11Alive "Ryan was a good boy." The 30-year-old had just graduated from Morehouse College in May with a degree in political science and recently got a new job. Family said Thornton was the only child to his mother, who also lost her husband unexpectedly three years ago.

Police: Florida man dies after punch from Uber driver in St. Pete

Witness: Passenger was 'completely unresponsive'

WFTS WebteamMichael Paluska

5:32 PM, Aug 11, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - UPDATE | Terry Kimball, an Uber passenger punched by his driver, has died as a result of his injuries, officials said Saturday, Aug. 12.

St. Petersburg police said no charges have been filed yet and the investigation continues. 

ORIGINAL STORY | An Uber driver is accused of punching a passenger in St. Petersburg, causing what could be life-threatening injuries.

Police say at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Uber driver Kabir O' Farril Diaz, 38, picked up 56-year-old passenger Terry L. Kimball.

They had a dispute over the route the driver was taking. Diaz pulled over at the Quick Pick Foods store at 800 58th St. N. in St. Petersburg, where they had a physical altercation.

Authorities say the driver punched Kimball, and he did not regain consciousness.

"I saw this guy laying on the ground. This woman was pressing on his chest trying to bring him back," Carlton Reid said. "He wasn't responsive. It was pretty tough, really I was really scared, I didn't know what was going on with him and I was pretty worried."

Reid witnessed the aftermath of the fight.

He is now in the hospital with serious brain trauma and life-threatening injuries.

Police said a witness told them Kimball appeared to be the aggressor.  A friend of Diaz told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska he has a baby on the way and is not a violent person.

According to Pinellas County court records Kimball's been arrested multiple times for crimes that include DUI, simple battery, resisting arrest, and disorderly intoxication.  

"That's very sad it really is I would like to know what happened now, truly," Reid said.  

Investigators are speaking with witnesses and they say Diaz, who has not been charged at this time, is cooperating.

Former Uber driver arrested in connection with woman's death

4:55 AM, Jun 5, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A former Uber driver in Florida was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman.

The Florida Times-Union reports that police arrested 29-year-old Charles Rowlands of Jacksonville on Thursday on suspicion of evidence tampering related to the death investigation.

Police say 28-year-old Victoria Braddock was found barely alive May 15. She had been shot and was lying in the middle of a road after being thrown from a black SUV, and later died at the hospital.

Witnesses told police Braddock had been with an Uber driver nicknamed "Row" when she was killed, and that she had been using his cellphone.

Detectives traced the phone number to Rowlands. They found a large amount of blood inside his SUV, which he had tried to clean before selling it.

Uber Driver Arrested After Fatally Hitting Man in Crosswalk, NYPD Says

By Katie Honan | January 19, 2017 7:45am


JACKSON HEIGHTS — An Uber driver was arrested after he struck and killed a man crossing an intersection on 37th Avenue Thursday night, police said.

Henry Boimel, 67, was walking on the south side of 76th Street and 37th Avenue when he was struck by Dinesh Bhattarai, 45, who was making a right turn onto 76th Street around 7:29 p.m., police said.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with severe head injuries and was later pronounced dead. 

Bhattarai is an Uber driver but he was not using the app at the time of the crash, according to a spokeswoman for the company. 

Police said Bhattarai, who lives on the same street as the crash, was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.  

Pedestrian safety on Jackson Heights' streets, particularly the congested 37th Avenue, was brought up multiple times at Tuesday's 115th Precinct Community Council meeting.

Many people asked for increased enforcement on 37th, 35th and 34th avenues — fearing more fatalities.

"37th Avenue is a car crash disaster waiting to happen," Cristina Furlong, the co-founder of Make Queens Safer, warned. 

She echoed statements made earlier by other residents who complained of speeding cars, specifically on 74th Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard.

Officials from the NYPD's 115th Precinct said at Tuesday's meeting that they would address the complaints with a shift in where they assigned traffic enforcement officers.

"I just can't stress enough that traffic enforcement is law enforcement," Furlong said.

13-year-old boy sues Uber over Hollywood death of film director dad



The son of a Portuguese cinematographer, producer and film director killed in a collision with an Uber driver in the Hollywood area in 2016 is suing the ride-hailing service.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13-year-old Joaquim Timoner, whose 41-year-old father, Vasco Lucas Nunes, was killed last March 11 at Beverly Boulevard and Hudson Avenue.

The wrongful death suit filed on the youngster’s behalf by his paternal grandmother, Andrea Doane Timoner, names Uber Technologies Inc. and Uber driver Andre Zamon Ausler and seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit alleges Ausler was using the Uber app at the time of the 11:30 a.m. collision even though doing so causes drivers to be distracted.

An Uber representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

According to the complaint filed Friday, Ausler was driving west with a passenger on Beverly Boulevard when he made a left turn into the path of Nunes, who was on a motorcycle. Nunes was propelled into the air and landed on the pavement, where he was given CPR by a good Samaritan.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Nunes succumbed to his injuries and died moments later,” according to the lawsuit.

Nunes’ work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

–City News Service