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.


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.


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