Uber driver pleads guilty to reduced charge in death of passenger

By BETSY POWELLCourts Reporter

Thu., Oct. 25, 2018

An Uber driver, whose “poor judgment” resulted in the death of a passenger, pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced Highway Traffic Act charge of careless driving, much to the disappointment and derision of the victim’s family.

Abdihared Bishar Mussa, 23, was facing four Criminal Code charges, including dangerous driving causing death, in the March 21, 2018 crash that killed Nicholas Cameron, who was 28.

It was Mussa’s second day driving for the online platform when he accepted a fare from Cameron and his girlfriend, Monika Traikov, to take them to Pearson International Airport. After the couple climbed into the back seat of his 2012 Hyundai, Mussa inadvertently headed eastbound on the Gardiner Expressway — in the opposite direction of the airport, Crown attorney Michael Coristine said reading an agreed statement of facts.

While travelling westbound on the Gardiner, Mussa’s phone/GPS fell from its mount onto the floor of the vehicle. He stopped the car on the shoulder, just west of Park Lawn Road, but it was “at least partially, still in the live right lane,” Coristine said.

After reattaching the phone to the mount, he very slowly attempted to pull back on the highway when a black BMW sedan struck the back corner at a high rate of speed. “Due to the force and precise location of the impact from the initial collision, Mr. Cameron, who was seated directly behind the driver’s seat, suffered a catastrophic neck injury.” He died the next day in hospital. Traikov suffered a concussion and other minor injuries and was treated and released.

The driver of the BMW acknowledged to police he had taken his eyes off the road for a second to check the time on his phone.

Explaining why the prosecution had accepted the plea, Coristine told court while Mussa exercised “poor judgment with extremely tragic, unimaginable consequences,” his actions weren’t criminal.

“He did not set out to injure anyone that night,” Coristine said. He is asking for the maximum $2,000 fine, one-year driving prohibition — Mussa has already been without a driver’s licence for seven months — and one year probation when he must complete driver training.

An “exceptionally aggravating factor” was that Mussa was operating a commercial vehicle, the prosecutor said.

Defence lawyer David Parry is asking for a $400 fine, one year probation and mandatory driver training before his licence is reinstated.Cameron’s family and friends who packed the small Finch Avenue West courtroom shook their heads and sobbed throughout the proceedings.

I am “horified” by this “pathetic slap on the wrist,” Cameron’s sister Rachel told court reading from her victim impact statement.

Their mother, Cheryl Hawkes, urged Mussa to take responsibility for his actions, just as her son did when he was alive. She, too, expressed disgust at what has transpired since her youngest son was killed, which has “ruined my life … as I knew it.”

“In the end, responsibility for Nick’s death has been left on the side of the road and no one wants to touch it.”

Cameron’s brother-in-law, Jason Burns, urged Mussa to “go public” and join the family’s pursuit “and tell Uber and Toronto why they need to reinstate driver training.”

“Tell them there will be another Nick,” he said in court.

Cameron’s older brother Patrick told Mussa he hopes he will do something positive with his life, “to make up for the life that you took.”

Ontario Court Justice Paul Robertson reserved his sentencing decision to Dec. 4.


Uber facing lawsuit over crash involving wrong driver

Updated: 1:00 PM EDT Mar 15, 2018

Paul Van Osdol   


A Western Pennsylvania man is suing Uber after he says one of its drivers turned over the car to her roommate – who then crashed it.

Austin Lee, of East McKeesport, took an Uber to meet his parents in Shadyside.

But he said the driver who picked him up is not the same person who responded to him on Uber's app.

According to court records, when Lee requested an Uber, his app said the driver's name was Tina and that she drove a Chrysler Sebring.

When the car arrived, Lee said, it was a Sebring and the driver was a woman.

“I did see an Uber sign, an Uber sticker on the car as Uber cars have. I went in and sat in the car and thought I was safe,” Lee said.

Minutes later, the car was on Bigelow Boulevard in Pittsburgh when it crashed into a tree. Lee said all he remembers is “seeing actual blood gushing from my head onto my pants and not knowing what happened, and afterward not being able to turn my neck.”

Lee ended up in the hospital with extensive injuries, according to court records.

A police report said the driver was not named Tina, but in fact was Linda Bruce. The report said Tina King is the car owner and also Bruce's roommate.

King was supposed to be the Uber driver, according to Lee's lawsuit.

“I was just shocked that that can even happen with such a big company, a world-renowned company,” Lee said.

“Then to put salt in the wound they charged him $16.81 for a ride that was never completed,” said Jack Goodrich, Lee’s attorney.

He said Uber refused to cover the accident under its insurance because the wrong person was driving.

“I mean that just makes no common sense -- charge me for the ride but then deny responsibility and liability,” Goodrich said.

In court filings, Uber, King and Bruce have denied the lawsuit's allegations. All of them refused to comment.

In a statement, Uber said when it gets a complaint that a driver did not match his or her profile, it takes appropriate action, which could include removing the driver from the Uber app.

No charges were filed against Bruce resulting from the accident.

Lee said Uber needs to do a better job making sure the right driver is behind the wheel.

“They should be doing a lot more especially with the technology available today to check on their drivers before they even start the car,” he said.

In a statement, Uber said it does check drivers by periodically asking them to take selfies and then matching that image with an existing photo of the driver.


Lakeland doctor sues Uber, driver after wreck

POSTED:FEB 06 2017 09:41PM EST

POLK COUNTY (FOX 13) - A Bay Area doctor is suing Uber and his driver after being involved in a car accident.

On November 29, Dr. Nathaniel Stephens, an ER physician at Lakeland Regional was in an Uber with a friend heading to dinner.  On the way, he says, the driver caused an accident near Swann Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

"My client suffered very severe internal injuries," said attorney Dan Moody.

Moody says Dr. Stephens was forced to miss work due to a prolonged hospital stay.  He says even now that he's back he's still in pain.

"Dr. Stephens has a right like anyone injured like as a result of someone else's fault to be compensated for his injuries," he said.

So he's filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against Uber and the driver, Marqus Baker, and his brother Steven who owns the vehicle.  He's seeking damages in excess of $15,000.  The suit alleges Marqus was driving negligently. 

Moody also questions Uber's background-check policies.

"If Uber didn't screen the driver properly or didn't do a proper background check of the driver then this case can go beyond a mere car accident," he said.

Uber does require drivers have insurance, but Moody says, in Baker's case, the policy didn't cover vehicles being used for compensation.  That raises more questions about Uber's pre-screening.

"We all are here to make sure people that take Ubers are protected and the right safeguards are put in place," he said.

He says a full investigation is still in the early stages.  We did reach out to the Uber driver and Uber itself; neither commented.


Wheelchair cyclist left lying in the street after being ‘repeatedly punched by road rage Uber driver’


The cyclist was left sitting dazed on the ground after the alleged attack


27th January 2017, 1:55 pm

A DISABLED cyclist was allegedly mowed down and punched unconscious in a horrific road rage attack with an Uber driver now arrested over the assault.

The cyclist, who was using a hand-pedal bike, was left dazed and bloodied after being hit by the car in the streets of London yesterday.

Mick, a taxi driver, witnessed the entire attack telling The Sun Online that the alleged attack had started when the Uber driver cut off the cyclist.

The cyclist is then claimed to have banged on the car, aggravating the driver. Mick said: “The driver jumped out, ran at the bike and basically jumped on him.”

Recounting the attack, he claimed: “It all calmed down for a few seconds then the driver realised his car had rolled into a parked car and he shouted ‘look at what you made me do’.

“He ran back at the cyclist and punched him full in the face and knocked him out, it was terrible.”

He said the cyclist was knocked out cold for 20 seconds, with police called over the attack.

Mick said: “Everyone was in shock and disbelief. “The cyclist was shaking, he was in shock.” He said that a terrified passenger had been in the Uber car the entire time.

One cyclist, Billy Clerkin, said he saw the cyclist, in his 20s, on the ground next to a busted hand-pedal bike on the ground. He alleged that the Uber driver had become “impatient” before knocking the cyclist over and punching him. The 24-year-old said: “The driver involved in the incident was shouting at the cyclist on the floor. “The cyclist had a cut up face, but he was OK.”

Horrified witnesses captured video of the aftermath of the crash, which happened on Endell Street about 4.30pm yesterday. The video of the scene shows the cyclist sitting dazed on the ground as witnesses rush to help.

In the video, the bike can be seen lying mangled on the ground. One person, believed to be the cyclist, can be heard speaking in the video, saying: “I have multiple witnesses”. The video shows a man in a red jumper standing by the silver Toyota Prius hybrid while talking on the phone.

The driver, who has since been banned from taking fares with Uber, then turns away from the camera.

A Met Police spokesperson said they had been called to the scene to reports of an assault yesterday. He said: “Officers attended and found a man aged in his 20s on the floor injured.“London Ambulance Service attended and took the victim to a south London hospital.“His injuries are not life-threatening.”

A 38-year-old was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and was taken to a north London police station for questioning.He has been bailed to return on a date in late-March.Police said that enquiries were continuing.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We are currently investigating these shocking reports.“Whenever there is a serious incident it is our policy to prevent the licensed private hire driver from using our app while we investigate.”

Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager for Taxi & Private Hire, said: “These are serious allegations and we are working with the police to urgently investigate them.”


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


Dallas woman sues Uber after crash changed her life

Local regulators need to WAKE UP! Protect the general public from this! 

Uber driver in building crash has lost license 3 times in past


Jordan Graham Friday, October 28, 2016


The Uber driver behind the wheel of an SUV that slammed into a Beacon Hill building Wednesday has a lengthy driving record that includes numerous license suspensions and seven accidents that he was found to be at fault in, registry records show.

Jean Caillot of Randolph has a six-page driving record detailing 30 years of speeding violations, accidents and safety violations, according to MassDOT.

He has also had his license suspended three times for accruing too many violations and had to complete a mandated driver education course in 2002.

An Uber spokeswoman confirmed Caillot was the driver involved in yesterday’s crash.

Caillot’s Toyota Rav4 crashed into a brick wall near the intersection of Myrtle and Grove streets about 3:15 p.m., police say. Both Caillot and a passenger were taken by ambulance to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Police said yesterday that Caillot has not been cited in the crash.

In recent years, Caillot has been ticketed for failing to use safety in Brookline, making an improper turn in Watertown, and for two separate accidents in Dorchester in 2008 and in Watertown in 2014. Still, Uber said Caillot’s record did not disqualify him from driving for the company because it only looks at recent activity, not a driver’s entire driving history.

According to Uber’s guidelines, potential drivers must have three or fewer traffic violations within the past three years, and no major violations such as a drunken driving charge. The recently passed state law regulating Uber drivers only requires four or fewer violations in the past three years.


Despite hit-and-run, arrest in Berkeley, Uber driver still finds time to charge fee


September 13, 2016 2:25 pm by Emilie Raguso

A 27-year-old Hayward man dropping off an Uber fare in Berkeley flew into a “fit of rage” when he found his route blocked, then drove into a community service officer repeatedly Saturday night before fleeing police and ultimately being arrested, according to rider and police accounts.

The rider, a UC Berkeley student, and her friend “had to jump out of the moving car after he told us not to get out,” she wrote when she contacted Uber on Sunday.

She was charged $7 for the 4-minute ride. According to Uber, the driver would have had to manually end the trip for the fee to have been charged. The fare has since been refunded.

University of California Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich said Tuesday that a driver for a ride-sharing service struck a UCPD community service officer shortly before 10:10 p.m. Saturday.

Reich confirmed the driver, M. Bilal, fled the scene but was found nearby and identified as the driver. He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, the vehicle.

Reich said the officer ultimately reported no injuries.

The rider, a UC Berkeley junior, said the driver was “seemingly nice” at first, until he found the road blocked at Rim Way and Centennial Drive, near the Greek Theatre where a large concert was taking place.

When the officer tried to stop the driver from getting through, the situation escalated.

He proceeded to swear at the security guard on the road and eventually accelerated into the man hitting him repeatedly with the car with my friend and I still inside,” she wrote to Uber on Sunday. (The email exchange was later shared with Berkeleyside.)

The young woman asked for the $7 charge for the ride to be refunded, as per the email exchange. She also requested a phone call from Uber and noted concerns for her safety in case the driver had access to her personal information.

She received a formulaic email response from a customer service rep identified as Sonali Dhan. Dhan said the fare would be refunded but did not address any of the other concerns, according to the emails.

The student then reached out to her mother, who got in touch with Berkeleyside.

“This is just nuts,” she wrote. “Do you mind taking a moment to read what is happening with Uber in Berkeley?”

Tracey Breeden, an Uber spokesperson, confirmed Uber had received feedback Sunday about an incident “very similar to what was provided” to her by Berkeleyside, though she said she could not confirm the driver’s name due to privacy rules.

Breeden said the driver had been suspended pending further investigation, and that his access to the Uber platform had been removed.

“We look into all allegations when we receive feedback like that,” Breeden said.

Breeden said Uber tried to contact the rider by phone and email but, as of Tuesday afternoon, had not been able to reach her.

The driver, she said, will remain suspended from the app until he is able to provide evidence or information, such as court documents, showing that there was no charge or conviction.

Breeden said Uber has its own team that investigates any incident that involves police, and that Uber takes security and safety very seriously. She said Uber’s incident-response team is on duty 24-7 to handle reports from riders and drivers alike.

If Uber receives feedback indicating a driver has been arrested or was driving dangerously, the service immediately and automatically suspends that driver until an investigation can be done, she added.

If the investigation finds those allegations to have been true, a driver can be suspended from the app for life, Breeden said.

The woman’s mother told Berkeleyside, ultimately, she is just grateful her daughter is safe.

“The driver was found and arrested and my daughter and her friend were advised to avoid Uber, by the police, as they do not conduct background checks,” she told Berkeleyside. “He suggested they use Lyft, in the future, as they do [conduct those checks].”

Bilal is no longer in custody and no further information was immediately available about his case.



Riders must beware of the fine print when taking Uber & Lyft



Tom Krisher, Associated Press - Jun 25, 2016 11:00 am

When you catch a ride using Uber or Lyft, you do so at your own risk.

Under terms and conditions that riders agree to — but few read — at sign up, the app-based ride-hailing companies say they aren’t legally liable for the safety of their drivers or the quality of their services. That’s because the drivers are independent contractors, not employees.

The terms seem to be at odds with company statements that highlight their efforts to keep riders safe with driver background checks, a code of conduct and other measures.

Instead, if a rider is injured in a ride-hailing car, the driver appears to be liable. If a driver gets lost and makes a rider late for an appointment, or if a driver assaults someone, the company says it’s not involved.

Uber “does not guarantee the quality, suitability, safety or ability of third-party providers (drivers),” its terms say. Riders also agree that the “entire risk arising out of your use of the services, and any service or good requested in connection therewith, remains solely with you.”

“That’s just a real eye opener,” says Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University and frequent Uber user, who admits he didn’t read the terms. “If Uber is so confident in the checks and all of this, why is it so anxious to try to shift liability to the user?”

Lyft’s terms say it has “no control over the quality or safety of the transportation that occurs as a result of the services.” The company also tells drivers that they are responsible for all liability. “The language in the terms of service is a reflection of the reality that people using the platform are on the open road in moving vehicles, which presents a risk,” spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna says.

Uber doesn’t take on the liability risk of drivers because they are independent contractors, which is common in many industries, says spokeswoman Taylor Patterson. “It doesn’t detract in any way from the fact that we take safety very seriously,” she says.

Uber’s app shows riders the driver’s name, license plate number, photo and ratings from other riders. The app also lets friends track a route in real time, says Patterson.

Both Uber and Lyft carry $1 million in liability insurance that covers each driver while en route to pick up a passenger or while carrying one. The policy becomes the primary insurance covering the driver.

Several apps that summon taxicabs have liability waivers in terms and conditions that are similar to Uber and Lyft. But many taxis are different. Riders in New York City who get cabs in conventional ways, for instance, do not have to agree to any terms, said Allan Fromberg, spokesman for the city taxi commission.

The liability waivers also are being tested in court.

People can still be legally bound by the terms if they don’t read them, says Saltzburg. The terms could hold up in court with Uber’s argument that it merely offers a platform to link riders and drivers, he says.


Uber passenger takes wheel from napping driver, crashes fleeing the cops

By Associated Press

April 5, 2016 | 11:53am

ModaCOLESVILLE, N.Y. — Authorities say an Uber passenger who took the wheel while the driver slept later crashed the car while trying to elude police.

State police say 20-year-old New York City resident Juan Carlos hired the car in Philadelphia to take him 200 miles to central New York.

Police say the driver asked Carlos to take the wheel Saturday while he napped, and a trooper later clocked Carlos going 86 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 81 near Binghamton.

When the real driver woke up and asked Carlos why he was driving so fast, Carlos told him it was because police were chasing them.

Carlos soon crashed. Both suffered minor injuries.

Carlos was charged with fleeing police and driving without a license. It wasn’t clear if he has a lawyer.


Uber faces lawsuit after nurse suffers brain damage in Miami crash

MARCH 14, 2016 5:42 PM


Jean Day, and her husband, were visiting from South Carolina when they were hurt in December

The lawsuit is the third in recent months against ride-sharing services in Miami-Dade

The damaged 2009 Nissan Murano owned by Uber driver Ingrid Parra, who crashed in December in Miami Beach and injured a couple visiting from South Carolina. Christopher Drury

Uber is facing a lawsuit after one of its drivers crashed while leaving the Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach, a wreck that caused massive brain damage to a nurse visiting from South Carolina.

The lawsuit is the latest against ride-sharing services involved in traffic crashes in Miami-Dade, and comes as the county commission is considering legislation to regulate the business of Uber and its smaller competitor, Lyft.

The suit was filed by Dr. Richard Day and his wife, nurse Jean Day, who were in town for a medical conference back in December. That afternoon, the couple hailed an Uber ride from driver Ingrid Parra, who drove a 2009 Nissan Murano.

According to a police report and the lawsuit, Parra crashed into another car immediately after turning into traffic along Collins Avenue after leaving the hotel. She was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.

Day, a gynecologist from Charleston, broke his leg in the crash. Jean Day, a nurse who specializes in the administration of anesthesia, suffered injuries to her brain and has undergone several surgeries.

For now, she must wear a helmet to protect her skull before another surgery scheduled later this month.

“Jean really loved helping people and she loved her job,” said their Miami lawyer, Christopher Drury. “It hurts her deeply that she has not been able resume her career and that most likely will never be able to.”

Uber representatives did not respond to e-mails and calls on Monday.

The popularity of Uber and Lyft – which contract with drivers who use a smart phone app to accept requests for rides – have skyrocketed in South Florida and across the country in recent years. But not without controversy.

The Day’s lawsuit is at least the third against a ride-sharing service involved in a crash in the past six months, and each has pointed to drivers paying attention to their smart phones, not the road.

In January, Uber was sued by the relatives of a Miami-Dade College student who was killed in a fiery wreck in Kendall. The Uber driver, however, was not faulted in the crash. Another motorist, college student Alexander Chica, was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter.

Back in November, Lyft was hit with a lawsuit by the family of a 29-year-old Loinier Perez, who was thrown off his motorcycle and killed after a crash with a ride-sharing driver in Wynwood.

In the Day case, the lawsuit alleges Uber failed to realize that the driver “was not qualified, had not received sufficient training and was not being supervised” properly.

The ascendency of Uber, as well as Lyft, has sparked fierce resistance from taxi drivers as local governments have struggled with how to legalize the operations. Miami-Dade county regulators say Uber drivers violate for-hire rules, but the popularity of the service has put enormous pressure on commissioners.

Both companies need a constant churn of part-time drivers to provide both the blanket coverage and competitive rates that have made the services so popular.

Broward initially required fingerprinting drivers, but backed off once both Uber and Lyft made good on threats to leave the market last summer. By the fall, Broward had adopted legislation pushed by the companies.

After a Michigan Uber driver was arrested and charged with fatally shooting six people, Miami-Dade commissioners have threatened to impose a fingerprint requirement. The commission will vote in May.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article66023067.html#storylink=cpy