#uber

Lyft and Uber drivers may need extra insurance coverage

POSTED: JAN 14 2019 08:16PM CST

VIDEO POSTED: JAN 14 2019 09:59PM CST

UPDATED: JAN 15 2019 09:17AM CST

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The St. Paul chill is no match for the sting single-mother Kelly Muñoz feels as she stares at deflated airbags, a jacked front tire, and major front end damage to her 2018 Jeep.

“It’s not drivable,” she explained.

The totaled SUV is parked in her friend’s garage collecting dust.

It’s just so devastating,” said Muñoz.

The full-time social worker and part-time Lyft driver’s frustration is still palpable two months after she was struck by 23-year-old David Acosta-Rosario of St. Paul Park. Acosta-Rosario was later charged with speeding, driving without insurance and driving with a revoked license following an impact that wasn’t without injury.

“I received a concussion, back and neck pain and currently still getting treatment for my lower-back pain," said Muñoz. "I’m currently seeing a physical therapist and chiropractor that I have to see three times a week.”

Adding insult to injury, Muñoz is forced to rely on her own coverage for the $28,000 she owes on the Jeep.

“I’ve been battling back and forth with both insurances,” she said.

While Lyft agreed to cover Muñoz’s medical expenses, she says, it wasn’t until after the crash that she learned she wasn't completely covered. At the time of the crash, Muñoz was logged into the Lyft driver app, but she didn't have a passenger with her and hadn't been matched with one yet. She also didn't have a “rideshare endorsement” included in her plan through American Family Insurance. Without a passenger and without the endorsement, neither company will accept her auto claim.

“Despite the fact that American Family Insurance is one of the top 10 insurance companies in this country, they don’t even offer it to drivers of Lyft vehicles in Minnesota,” said Muñoz’s attorney, Howard Sussman.

“I believe Lyft has the most responsibility, because they were obligated to explain to Kelly in great detail both in writing as well as training their drivers, including Kelly, to make sure that there weren’t any gaps in coverage,” Sussman said.

Nonetheless, some would argue it’s the sole responsibility of the driver to know exactly how much insurance they need.

In a statement to FOX 9 Campbell Matthews, a spokesman for Lyft, writes, 

"Safety is Lyft's top priority and we recognize this was frightening and unfortunate. Upon learning of the incident, Lyft reached out to the driver to extend our support, investigate the incident, and an insurance adjuster was in touch to assist and explain our coverage policy."

Meanwhile, American Family spokeswoman Janet Matthews asserts, 

This endorsement [rideshare insurance] is not yet available from American Family in Minnesota. Again, although we truly sympathize with Ms. Muñoz… and her situation, a personal auto policy does not provide coverage at times when the car is being used for a commercial purpose, such as driving for a transportation network company like Lyft.”

“It’s completely unfair,” Muñoz said, shaking her head.

And she isn’t the only rideshare driver who was blindsided by the news.

“I was not aware of rideshare insurance, nor was it ever spoken about with Lyft [or Uber]. They just needed to see that I had insurance on my vehicle and I assumed that they had accepted it, I was covered,” said Uber and Lyft driver Natalie Beecham.

Beecham only picks up passengers to earn extra cash, but when she heard Muñoz’s story it made her reconsider.

“I stopped driving," said Beecham. "The liability that that leaves you with, I don’t know if it’s worth some spare change if you’re not doing this as your full-time job,” Beecham said.

As Muñoz learned the hard way, the uninformed risk far outweighs the reward.

With no other recourse, Muñoz launched a go fund me page to help pay off her Jeep so she can get into a new car. Until then, she has quit driving for Lyft and borrows a friend’s car to get to her full-time job and take her son, Hank, to and from school.

“I’m hoping also that by sharing my story that I’m able to bring awareness for other Uber and Lyft drivers who are in similar situations as me who are convinced that they have coverage with their insurance but may not,” said Muñoz.

http://www.fox9.com/news/lyft-and-uber-drivers-may-need-extra-insurance-coverage

Uber driver charged with kidnapping, allegedly wouldn't let girl, 15, out of car

By Chad Pradelli

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 11:17AM

The proliferation of ride-sharing services has some parents using Uber and Lyft to taxi their children around, however, it's against the policy of both companies and can prove to be unsafe.

One local mother says an Uber driver allegedly abducted her daughter and, even after he was charged, he continued to drive for the company for months.

Shakara Parks said it was around 9:30 p.m. on a chilly March night when the Uber driver picked up her 15-year-old daughter.

The teen had just wrapped up a hair appointment, but said the Uber ride quickly turned uncomfortable.

"I received multiple comments saying that I was pretty," she said.

The girl texted her mom, as she was told to do when her mom ordered the ride.

Her text said: "I'm in the Uber and I feel uncomfortable."

Parks pleaded with her daughter to tell the driver, Robert Beamon, to let her out.

"The man then put his hand on the lock and said 'No, you're coming with me,'" the teen said.

Parks said her daughter began to cry.

"I said, 'Get out the car.' She said 'I can't.' I said 'What do you mean you can't?' She said, 'His hand is on the lock button,'" said Parks.

The teen said she kept screaming and kicking the door.

"'Please, please let me out. Please, please,'" she said. "He didn't let me out."

The alleged ordeal is a stark reminder of what can happen to your child when he or she jumps into an Uber with a stranger.

Both Uber and Lyft have a policy where minors are not allowed to use their services without a parent. But some busy parents, like Parks, are using the ride-sharing services to transport their kids to or from events.

Action News had a 14-year-old sign up on both apps with parental permission.

He used his recently acquired debit card and within a half hour he was on the road as we monitored his travels.

Three times he was able to get an Uber driver to pick him up with no questions asked. A Lyft driver did the same.

"I still blame myself. Had I would have just left school and got her myself this wouldn't have happened," said Parks.

Parks' daughter says she escaped her frightening Uber ride after Beamon became distracted by another car.

"He got frightened and his hand went off the lock and I kicked the door open and was able to get out," she said.

Authorities charged Beamon with kidnapping and other related charges in May, yet according to reviews, he continued to drive for five months.

Parks said she repeatedly called Uber to complain the 59-year-old was still on road.

"Uber told me that they cannot release any information to me because it's none of my business," she said.

Uber released a statement that reads in part: "What's been described is extremely troubling and upon learning of it we immediately removed the driver's access to the app. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement."

Uber went on to say drivers can request that passengers provide a driver's license or ID card. If a rider is underage, they shouldn't allow them to ride.

Beaman has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He declined to comment through his attorney.

https://abc7chicago.com/business/uber-driver-charged-with-kidnapping-allegedly-wouldnt-let-girl-15-out-of-car/4680894/

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.

https://news.sky.com/story/uber-driver-arrested-after-passenger-shot-dead-11392845

Thousands of criminals were cleared to be Uber drivers. Here's how rideshare companies fought stronger checks

By Curt Devine, Nelli Black, Drew Griffin and Collette Richards
Video by Collette Richards and Harshal Vaidya

Updated 7:46 PM ET, Fri June 1, 2018

(CNN)For anyone looking, it wouldn't have been too hard to uncover Talal Chammout's sordid past.

A simple internet search would have turned up news accounts of his criminal history, such as his assault conviction or the time a federal judge sentenced him to 6½ years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms.

The judge in that case ticked off a string of allegations against Chammout at his sentencing: He had been accused of shooting a juvenile in the leg, seeking to smuggle rocket launchers into the Middle East, attacking his wife with a crowbar and plotting to hire a hit man.

Three years after he was released from prison, Chammout wanted to be an Uber driver. The company did not run a background check on him and he was allowed to drive in 2015. Three months later, he followed one of his passengers into her home and sexually assaulted her. He is now serving a 25-year prison sentence.

It wasn't the only time Uber welcomed a driver who should have been barred under the company's policy that excludes people with convictions of serious crimes or major driving offenses from shuttling passengers, a CNN investigation into rideshare background checks found.

Among the shady drivers who cleared Uber's screening process: A man convicted of attempted murder who is now accused of raping a passenger in Kansas City; a murderer on parole in Brazos County, Texas; a previously deported undocumented immigrant who is now facing trial for sexually assaulting three passengers and attacking another in San Luis Obispo, California. They no longer drive for Uber.

Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have approved thousands of people who should have been disqualified because of criminal records, according to state agencies and lawsuits examined by CNN.

In statements to CNN, Uber and Lyft said their background checks are robust and fair. Uber acknowledged past mistakes in its screening process, but said, "More than 200,000 people failed our background check process in 2017 alone. While no background check is perfect, this is a process we take seriously and are committed to constantly improving."

Though both companies say they support thorough vetting, they have pushed back on government efforts to add other layers of scrutiny to the screening process. CNN found a massive lobbying effort from rideshare companies led by Uber has successfully fought off additional backgrounding requirements for drivers, such as fingerprint scans or government screening, that some state and local officials say would help protect passengers.

Uber has played a key role in shaping the language of many state laws governing rideshare companies, giving the company authority to conduct its own background checks in most states with little or no oversight, unlike many taxi operations. The company has been particularly forceful in its opposition to requirements that would force it to check criminal records through an applicant's fingerprint.

Of the 43 states that have passed laws or rules regulating rideshare driver background checks and eligibility, none require fingerprint-based checks, CNN found. In 31 states, the laws largely mirror Uber's recommended screening policies, in some cases nearly word-for-word.

Legislative sources from 25 states told CNN Uber directly influenced the writing of their laws.

"Uber has essentially regulated itself," said a former Uber employee and in-house lobbyist, who requested anonymity citing concern over possible backlash from a current employer. The former employee added that in most states, lawmakers just inserted Uber's language.

An email between an Uber lobbyist and a lawmaker underscores the point.

As Wyoming State Rep. Dan Zwonitzer prepared to introduce a bill to regulate rideshare companies in his state in December 2016, an Uber lobbyist emailed him, pushing for a change in the proposed legislation.

for complete article-

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/us/felons-driving-for-uber-invs/index.html

Uber driver arrested after burglarizing Reno customer's home

by Kenzie Bales

Tuesday, May 29th 2018

HERLONG, Calif. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Two Lassen County residents are behind bars after a residential burglary that happened at a Reno home, according to the Lassen County Sheriff's Office.

Captain Kevin Jones says the victim, Frank Hawbolt, hired an Uber driver from his residence in Reno to a nearby concert on May 20.

When Hawbolt returned home, he discovered his home had been burglarized and several items, including an iPad, were taken. Hawbolt estimated that the total loss was approximately $17,000.

The Lassen County Sheriff's Office was able to ping Hawbolt's iPad to a residence in Herlong, California, north of Reno.

Authorities received a search warrant for the property in Herlong on May 25. While serving the warrant, almost all of the items that were reported stolen from Hawbolt's home were recovered, according to Jones.

Police determined that Reina VandeBrake, 37, was Hawbolt's Uber driver.

VandeBrake and Carlos Olivarria, 32, were arrested and booked into the Laseen County Jail on a charges of possession of stolen property. Their bail has been set at $20,000 each.

http://mynews4.com/news/local/uber-driver-arrested-after-burglarizing-reno-customers-home

Uber eats driver arrested, charged with sexually assaulting special needs man inside restaurant

By: Nefertiti Jaquez

Updated: Apr 19, 2018 - 11:57 PM

ATLANTA - Police say they've caught an Uber Eats driver who sexually assaulted a mentally disabled man.

The victim's father says his 21-year-old son has autism and has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old. He asked us not to reveal his identity for this report.

While relieved, the victim’s father is still heartbroken and angry. 

“I don’t understand why. You’re an older guy. You’re old enough to know right from wrong. And for you to do that to a kid," he said. 

Atlanta police say Todd Barron, 54, attacked the victim in a bathroom while he was working at the downtown Mexican restaurant.

“No Mas Cantina was helpful in providing us video footage and everything and from there we were able to determine who the suspect was,” Lt. Andrea Webster with the Atlanta Police Department told Jaquez. 

They were able to quickly identity Barron because on the morning of March 25, the Uber Eats driver was at the restaurant to pick up a delivery order.

Detectives say the suspect fled to California for three weeks before returning to the metro area. 

They tracked him down when they realized he booked a flight back into Atlanta. They arrested him last week at the airport. 

We reached out to Uber and they released this statement:

“What’s been described is extremely disturbing and we are appalled. The delivery partner does not have access to the app and we stand ready to work with police on their investigation.” 

They also noted Barron had only been driving for the company since November.

Barron has been charged with aggravated sodomy and exploitation of a disabled adult.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/uber-eats-driver-arrested-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-special-needs-man-inside-restaurant/734897140

Uber investigating how a convicted killer was allowed to work in Brazos County

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- UPDATE:

 

The District Attorney's office tells KBTX the murder took place in 1998. According to the Uber's driver standards, Horn may have been fine to drive.

Their policy on background checks states: "A criminal record that does not include a conviction for a felony, violent crime, or sexual offense within the last seven years, among other things such as a registration on the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public website."

Local Uber drivers feel that the company may need to update their policies.

"I mean I really hope that they tighten things up. That's a company that needs to keep growing and if people know there's convicted murderers driving people around…who's going to want to take a ride?" said Tyler Hutton.

Another driver, Brandon George, added that cases like this make him question the integrity of the company.

"Honestly the character behind that I really wouldn't too much trust Uber now.," said George.

Other local riders like Hannah Chesney said hearing about Horn's past made her feel uneasy.

"This does make me feel a little bit nervous knowing that someone who has a violent crime in their past like that can be an Uber driver and be responsible for the lives of others," said Chesney.

We will continue to update this story as Uber continues their investigation of Horn.

ORIGINAL STORY:
Uber is investigating how a man convicted of murder was allowed to work for the ride sharing company in Brazos County while on parole.

Anthony Horn, 45, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for Evading in a Vehicle.

On February 11, 2017, Horn was stopped by a Bryan Police officer at Villa Maria and 29th Street for speeding. When the officer approached the vehicle, he could smell marijuana coming from inside. When the officer asked Horn to step out of the vehicle, Horn sped off and attempted to evade the officer.

Officers soon located Horn because he had wrecked at the intersection of Villa Maria and Nash Street after nearly striking another vehicle.

During the punishment phase, prosecutors presented evidence of Horn’s prior conviction for Murder.

A Deputy U.S. Marshal testified that while Horn was incarcerated in a high security section of the Connally Unit of the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice, he used a prison-made weapon to repeatedly stab another inmate to death. At the time of the murder, Horn was serving a prison sentence for Possession of Cocaine.

Evidence was also presented that Horn, who was employed as an Uber driver at the time of this offense, was still on parole for the murder. He did not have a passenger with him at the time of the incident.

“This defendant’s decision to flee from officers placed the lives of others
in danger. His blatant disregard for the safety of others warranted a
sentence that recognizes the danger that this defendant poses," said Assistant Brazos County District Attorney Philip McLemore.

Uber says it's background checks include a Motor Vehicle Record view as well as a criminal background check.

KBTX has reached out to Uber for more comment on the situation and received the following statement:

"We are looking further into this to help understand this situation further. This person is not an active driver and has not had access to Uber since February 2017," said spokesperson Kayla Whaling.

http://www.kbtx.com/content/news/Uber-investigating-how-a-convicted-killer-was-allowed-to-work-in-Brazos-County-481703141.html

Passenger says Uber driver locked the doors, tried to take her to hotel

By Danielle Furfaro

April 17, 2018 | 3:59pm | 

Nancy Leong University of Denver

A law professor’s Uber ride to the Denver airport turned into a full-blown nightmare, when the driver told her he was going to instead take her to a hotel and pulled off the highway, she claimed in a series of tweets aimed at the ridesharing company.

Nancy Leong, who teaches at the University of Denver and has since taken down her account, said the driver wouldn’t unlock the doors even as she screamed at him.

“Hey @Uber your driver was taking me to the airport. He said he was going to ‘take me to a hotel’ and got off the highway. We got to a stop light. I started yelling ‘let me out of the f—ing car’ and he wouldn’t unlock the doors,” she tweeted.

Leong started pounding on the windows of the car, but the driver would only let her out when he saw some construction workers watching them from the side of the road. She then had to pound on the car to get the driver to remove her suitcase from the trunk.

“Then he got out of the car and started coming toward me,” she wrote. “Remember we are at a stop light at the bottom of a highway off ramp. There’s nothing around. Thank god there were construction workers there.”

The car rolled into the intersection, almost smashing into another vehicle, she said.

Leong called another Uber to take her to the airport.

Uber sent her back a canned tweet saying they were looking into the incident.

“Hi, Nancy. Our team will be reaching out to you personally,” the company tweeted. “We greatly appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Rest assured, we take this matter seriously.”

Uber officials told The Post that the company has banned the driver from the platform and is looking into the incident.

“What Nancy described is awful and unacceptable,” said a company spokesman. “This driver has been blocked from the app and we are investigating.”

FILED UNDER KIDNAPPINGS ,  RIDE SHARING ,  UBER

https://nypost.com/2018/04/17/passenger-says-uber-driver-locked-the-doors-tried-to-take-her-to-hotel/

Illegal immigrant Uber driver raped passenger then fled to native Ghana, police say

By Lucia I. Suarez Sang | Fox News

An Uber driver charged with raping a passenger earlier this month was able to walk free because officials failed to notify immigration agents about his arrest, authorities said.

Frederick Amfo, 30, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, was arrested after a female passenger said that on April 8 he forced her into the backseat of his car and raped her, police said. Hours after he was released from police custody, he fled to his native Ghana. He was supposed to surrender his passport but did not.

“A loss for words,” Emily Murray, the victim who insisted on being identified by the press, told Boston 25. “I was angry, I’m still angry. I’m confused.”

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Boston 25 that a federal immigration detainer should have been placed on Amfo. Weymouth police claimed it forwarded the detainer to Quincy District Court.

“The court chose not to forward the detainer to Norfolk County, allowing for his subsequent release on bail from custody,” the agency said in a statement. “This case highlights the potential dangers of policies that prohibit cooperation with ICE.”

The court told the Patriot Ledger that there was no record of an immigration detainer at the time of his arraignment.

A ruling last year made Massachusetts a sanctuary state – meaning illegal immigrants accused of a crime cannot be transferred to immigration officials.

Murray claims on April 8 she was trying to get home when Amfo allegedly locked the doors to his vehicle and sexually assaulted her in the backseat.

“Within minutes, I was in a situation I couldn’t control and I was assaulted,” she said.

Police said DNA collected from a rape kit and Amfo’s car led to his arrest days later.

Amfo was charged with sexual assault. On Friday, a Quincy District Court set bail at $10,000 and he was given a stay away order.

Court records show that Amfo was also given 24 hours to surrender his passport if he made bail. But he made bail later that afternoon without surrendering his passport.

Three days later, Murray was told that Amfo had fled to Ghana.

“If I went to Ghana and I committed a crime, I wouldn’t expect to be able to hop on plane and say sorry about that, here’s some money,” she said Tuesday. “I would expect to answer for it. Accountability. And there had been just zero.”

She told the Boston Herald that Amfo is a coward.

“He proclaims his innocence and then just leaves?” she said. “I feel hurt. … People get blamed for not coming forward and then get victimized more when they do.”

She said she doesn’t believe she will ever get justice.

“But I hope this shines a light and it won’t happen in the future,” she said, “because of me coming forward and me releasing my name and putting a face behind this whole situation.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/18/illegal-immigrant-uber-driver-raped-passenger-then-fled-to-native-ghana-police-say.html

 

Uber is allegedly silencing sexual assault allegations against its drivers — here's what to know about the case

KAREN FRATTI

March 21, 2018 8:19 am

One of the tell-tale signs that rape culture is alive and well comes when companies force accusers to settle their sexual assault allegations behind closed doors in arbitration and then sign non-disclosure agreements. But that doesn’t just happen in Hollywood or on Capitol Hill. Actually, nine women have brought a class action lawsuit against Uber for allegedly silencing their sexual assault allegations and forcing them to settle the issue in arbitration instead of an open court.

Arbitration is, according to the American Bar Association, a private way to settle disputes. A neutral party hears evidence and then decides who’s in the right. Although there are definitely times when it might be in someone’s favor to go to arbitration, it’s usually not in the best interest of employees or consumers — especially women — when they take this route, since arbiters tend to be very white, very old, and very male. What do they know about anything, right?

The thing is, all of us are actually bound to handle disputes via arbitration, whether it’s with Uber, Lyft, or other tech companies. Pretty much all of them have it written into their terms of service, which is why Uber is standing firm in settling these sexual assault cases in a closed boardroom somewhere instead of in front of a jury. Uber didn’t immediately respond to HelloGiggles’ request for comment, but a spokesperson told Gizmodo that the women in the class action lawsuit are allowed to at least speak publicly about the process.

“The allegations brought forth in this case are important to us and we take them very seriously. Arbitration is the appropriate venue for this case because it allows the plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time,” they said. Basically, it’s a great way to keep things out of the news.

These nine women are intent on not letting that happen. They want a jury and a trial and all of our attention, which is fair. Jeanne M Christensen, one of the women’s attorneys, told The Guardian, “Our clients deserve a trial. The goal is to force Uber to acknowledge that this is happening and to do something about it.” Another attorney at Wigdor Law, the firm representing the plaintiffs, told Gizmodo that Uber’s claim about privacy was “entirely nonsensical and a clear attempt to shield its pervasive, easily-rectified wrongdoing from the public eye.” They added that the women are very in control of their privacy and “want to litigate their claims in federal court.”

Forced arbitration is something that perpetuates rape culture, plain and simple. When you settle things behind closed doors, even if there’s a clause letting the women tweet and talk about it, they’re less likely to make headlines and fewer women will know that they’re not alone if they’ve been attacked or harassed by a man. This is one of the main things the Time’s Up organizers are fighting against — settling things quietly, writing a check, signing a contract, and being done with it is essentially telling victims to shut up and be happy it’s over. It’s telling drivers that they can get away with doing what they want. That’s just not going to fly, especially when we’re hopping in vehicles with drivers that the company is supposed to vet for us so that we can be safe.

One of the plaintiffs from Miami allegedly carried an intoxicated passengerinto her home and raped her, according to the complaint. A 26-year-old woman fom San Francisco alleges that an Uber driver pushed his way into her apartment building and then groped her. A Los Angeles woman alleges that she was assaulted when she fell asleep in the backseat. Another masturbated in the drivers seat, saying, “I thought this was what you wanted, ” to the plaintiff, according to the Daily Beast.

The women’s lawsuit blames Uber for their role in the alleged assaults throughout:

“Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired. Uber has created a system for bad actors to gain access to vulnerable victims.”

Just this weekend, police arrested a Boston Uber driver for assaulting a passenger in a parked car. Simply, this happens often enough for Uber to take a stronger position when it comes to protecting female Uber passengers. If they can’t vet their drivers or train them to prevent sexual assault, the least it could do is allow plaintiffs to tell their story in a court and let a judge and jury decide. Forcing women into arbitration to protect the company image is not a good look.

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. 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2018/03/19/operator-self-driving-uber-vehicle-killed-pedestrian-felon/440501002/

Uber driver accused of following woman into home, sexually assaulting her

Updated: 7:09 PM CDT Mar 16, 2018

Nick Bohr   

MILWAUKEE —

An Uber driver is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he drove home from a bar in Milwaukee.

The woman said he picked her up on Old World Third Street and then followed her into her house.

At bar time, the 23-year-old woman knew she couldn't drive home because she'd had too much to drink and took an Uber.

Police said the 39-year-old Uber driver helped her to the door of her Bay View home and then followed her inside and sexually assaulted her twice.

"Whenever you're out, you need to have good judgment," said Katie Wilhelm, who uses Uber. "It's a difficult call to make because either way there's a risk. Like, you don't want to drive drunk, but you also don't want to put yourself in a situation where you could be really at risk of being hurt in a different way."

Uber records led police to the driver, who didn't answer his door when WISN 12 News tried to talk to him Friday afternoon.

Uber users say the case serves as a warning, and a reminder that revelers should make sure their intoxicated friends get home safe not just into a cab or an Uber.

"That's a big problem out here with the Uber situation ... a lot of times, people get drunk. They leave their friends. And they end up out here, in the river, or get taken advantage of," Uber user LaTangelia Johnson said.

Police arrested the driver, but WISN 12 News is not naming him because he hasn't been charged yet. Prosecutors are waiting for DNA test results.

Uber released a statement saying, "What's been reported is horrible and is not tolerated on the app. As soon as we became aware of this we removed the driver's access."

http://www.wisn.com/article/cirque-du-soleil-performer-dies-after-fall-during-florida-performance/19472353

Uber facing lawsuit over crash involving wrong driver

Updated: 1:00 PM EDT Mar 15, 2018

Paul Van Osdol   

PITTSBURGH —

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.

http://www.wtae.com/article/uber-facing-lawsuit-over-crash-involving-wrong-driver/19445200

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.

https://m.chron.com/houston/article/Man-dies-when-Uber-driver-slams-into-car-stopped-12725458.php

Uber driver accused of robbing woman at knifepoint in northwest Miami-Dade

Yoandi Borroto, 31, accused of snatching $2,300 from victim's purse

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

Posted: 11:08 AM, February 27, 2018Updated: 10:55 PM, February 27, 2018

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - An Uber driver was arrested Monday, weeks after he robbed a woman at knifepoint in northwest Miami-Dade, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the victim requested an Uber to pick her up outside Mango's in Miami Beach early in the morning on Feb. 4.

More Crime Headlines
Uber Eats driver suspected in shooting death of customer turns himself in
Police said Yoandi Borroto, 31, picked up the victim in his Toyota Camry and she requested that he drive her to the area of Northwest Seventh Avenue and 107th Street.

When the victim got out of the car, Borroto exited the vehicle as well, pulled out a knife and demanded money from the victim, the arrest report stated.

Police said the victim struggled with Borroto, but he was able to get $2,300 in cash from her purse.

The victim told police that she took a photo of Borroto's car with her iPhone, but he snatched the phone from her hand.

The victim said she bit Borroto on his left arm during the struggle, and he got back into his car and drove away.

The victim's boyfriend told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden that although the driver got away with the woman's phone, she had the photo of his car saved on her iCloud. 

"I was, like, shocked because why would an Uber driver rob you?" Michael Clarke said. "He pulled a long knife on her (and said), 'Give me your money.'" 

Police said the victim also identified Borroto in a photo lineup on Sunday. He was arrested the next day on a charge of armed robbery with a deadly weapon. 

Uber spokeswoman Jodi Page confirmed that Borroto is an Uber driver, but said the company has no record of him driving for the ride-sharing service on Feb. 4. 

 

https://www.local10.com/news/crime/uber-driver-accused-of-robbing-woman-at-knifepoint-in-northwest-miami-dade

POLICE: UBEREATS DRIVER SHOOTS, KILLS CUSTOMER IN BUCKHEAD

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.

 

http://www.11alive.com/mobile/article/news/local/buckhead/police-ubereats-driver-shoots-kills-customer-in-buckhead/85-520204066

Suspect in Colts' Edwin Jackson, Uber driver deaths previously convicted for drunk driving in California

Justin L. Mack,Vic Ryckaert,Fatima Hussein and Holly V. Hays, IndyStarPublished 10:31 a.m. ET Feb. 5, 2018 | Updated 11:03 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018

The 26-year-old linebacker was one of the two people killed when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver on I-70 early Sunday morning.

The man suspected of driving drunk and fatally striking an Indianapolis Colts player and his Uber driver early Sunday had twice been deported and was in the country illegally, police confirmed Monday.  

Police say Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he hit and killed Edwin Jackson, a 26-year-old Colts linebacker, and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, Jackson's Uber driver, around 4 a.m. Sunday.   

Orrego-Savala is from Guatemala, according to Indiana State Police. He was first deported in 2007 and again in 2009 following arrests in San Francisco, according to a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials say Orrego-Savala has a prior conviction in California for driving under the influence.  

The circumstances of his Sunday arrest emerged as the latest case to draw in politicians and activists, particularly as President Donald Trump and Congress debate immigration changes as another budget deadline looms this week.  

Trump reaction: Trump tweets about Jackson’s death, suspect being in U.S. illegally

Activists comment: Immigration activists respond to Jackson's, Uber driver's death

About the crash: What happened to Edwin Jackson: Everything you need to know

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his condolences to Jackson's family Monday evening. 

"This was a senseless & avoidable tragedy," Pence tweeted." This is a great loss for the entire Indiana community. My prayers are with his family in their time of grief."

On my way to Alaska. I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Indianapolis @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This was a senseless & avoidable tragedy. This is a great loss for the entire Indiana community. My prayers are with his family in their time of grief. https://t.co/JKkzxakfmE

— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 6, 2018

Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted a condemnation of Orrego-Savala, followed by condolences to Jackson's family.

So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018

My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018

 

Supporters of reforms that would allow undocumented immigrants — and especially children — a path toward citizenship cautioned lawmakers not to conflate criminals with law-abiding children. 

"I agree with current law that punishes people who do not follow the law," said Ana Kotchkoski, president of the Venezuelan Association of Indiana, which regularly lobbies on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. "This goes against everything were trying to fight for and pursue for DACA." 

In 2012, President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order. The program allowed certain people who came to the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from immediate deportation. The program has become a bargaining chip for Democrats, as President Trump and Congressional Republicans seek a budget deal to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border.  

Meanwhile, supporters of the wall — and, more broadly, tougher immigration laws — pointed to the deaths of Jackson and Monroe as a reason for stricter border security.  

“Their lives were taken by a twice-deported illegal immigrant who was not only two times the legal limit to drive, but attempted to flee the scene of the crime in a cowardly fashion," said Michael Joyce, Indiana communications director for the Republican National Committee, in a statement. "These horrific events only further underscore the need for immigration reform and stronger border security measures that can further prevent these tragedies from happening in the future.” 

This is the truck Manuel Orrego-Savala was driving during the crash that killed Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe (Photo: Indiana State Police)

Orrego-Savala’s history in the U.S. dates back more than a decade. ICE spokesperson Nicole Alberico said in an email that Orrego-Savala is believed to have entered the country on or around July 1, 2004.

He was convicted of driving under the influence in Redwood City, Calif., in 2005, Alberico said. It was unclear what happened immediately following his conviction.

He was once again arrested by ICE in San Francisco in October 2006 for being in the country illegally. He was removed to Guatemala for the first time on Jan. 17, 2007.

He was again arrested by deportation officers in San Francisco on March 26, 2009, and was removed to Guatemala for the second time on May 12, 2009.

It is unknown when he returned to the U.S. and at what point he arrived in Indiana.

According to the state police, the crash happened shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday along the westbound lanes of I-70, just west of Holt Road. 

Jackson and Monroe, of Avon, were standing near Monroe's stopped vehicle when Orrego-Savala's Ford F-150 pick-up truck drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck them both. 

Investigators believe Monroe pulled to the side of the road when Jackson became ill, and that Monroe got out of his car to assist Jackson. 

Orrego-Savala tried to run away but was arrested soon after on the ramp to Holt Road, police said. He used the fake name of Alex Cabrera-Gonsales, police said.  

One of the two victims was thrown into the center lane of I-70 during the crash, ISP Sgt. John Perrine said in a statement. A state trooper, who spotted the crash along the right side of the road, struck the body of a victim in the center lane, Perrine said. Police did not say which victim was struck.  

Manuel Orrego-Savala's blood-alcohol level was .239 percent, according to a preliminary probable cause affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court. In Indiana, a driver is presumed intoxicated at 0.08 percent. 

Indiana advocates for the rights of the undocumented sought to separate the issue of drunken driving from illegal immigration.   

"The tragedy here is that this young man lost his life due to the negligence of someone who decided to drive under the influence," said Francine Dash, a spokeswoman for Faith in Indiana. "Legal status is not the culprit here; drunk driving is." 

“There are no excuses to drink and drive," said Marlene Dotson, president and CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute. "It impacts the entire community."  

More than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represented one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not return calls by IndyStar. Much of Orrego-Savala's background, including how much time he spent in Guatemala, is unknown at this point.  

Immigration to the U.S. from the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — grew by 25 percent over the eight-year period from 2005 to 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.  

Although violence tends to be the oft-cited cause for immigration from these three countries, Guatemala saw a slight decrease in violence in 2017, according to InSight Crime, a foundation studying organized crime in Central America.  

However, poverty runs rampant in Guatemala. In 2014, the year for which data is most recently available, more than a quarter of the country’s population lives on roughly $3 a day, according to the World Bank. Only the top 10 percent of the country’s population is considered middle class or wealthy.

Orrego-Savala has not been formally charged by the Marion County prosecutor's office. Prosecutors were granted a continuance, moving his initial hearing to Wednesday morning, according to the office.

He's being held in Marion County Jail. State police are working with federal immigration officials, Perrine said.

IndyStar reporter Ryan Martin contributed to this story.

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/05/driver-accused-killing-colts-player-edwin-jackson-undocumented-immigrant-has-been-deported-twice/306779002/

11 worst stories from Uber’s Year in Hell

CHRIS O'BRIEN@OBRIEN DECEMBER 23, 2017 8:02 AM

Looking back over our coverage of Uber in 2017, the controversial subsidized taxi service based in San Francisco, it remains a wonder that this company survived what is arguably one of the worst years ever for a Silicon Valley startup. Stealing, lying, harassing, and bullying are just a few of the verbs that were associated with Uber’s year.

Along the way, we saw founder Travis Kalanick forced out and replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi as CEO. In between, we saw the most painful of CEO searches in which candidates either ran screaming from the chaos or were plunged into a humiliating civil war raging among board members.

Fun!

Which means picking only 10 lowlights proved exceedingly difficult — ridiculously so. The appended list of runner-ups should attest to that.

But, without further delay, let us now relive the year that was for Uber, cringeworthy story by cringeworthy story:

1. Kalanick video: In late February, Kalanick was captured on video by the dashboard cam arguing with his Uber driver over declining fares. “To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement,” Kalanick wrote in an apology email to employees. “My job as your leader is to lead … and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away. It’s clear this video is a reflection of me — and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

2. Self-driving theft: Google’s self-driving automobile unit filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded the unit, downloaded 14,000 files from its hardware systems on his way out the door. Levandowski then founded Otto, a self-driving truck company, which was then bought by Uber. The suit claimed Levandowski and Kalanick hatched the whole plot together, something Uber denies. In any case, the accusation eventually led to one-time golden boy Levandowski being fired in May.

3. The blog post: For all the investigations and discussions into Uber’s Bro culture, it was a blog post published in February by a former Uber engineer alleging widespread sexism and harassment during her year working there that proved explosive. Susan Fowler wrote that her claims of sexual harassment by managers were repeatedly dismissed by the company, often with the excuse that her bosses were “high performing.” That led the board to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an independent investigation.

4. Greyball: Sweet fancy Moses. Uber apparently created a program called Greyball to avoid detection by authorities in places where it either faced harsh regulation or was banned. The New York Times broke the story, explaining that Greyball used data from its main Uber app to block local officials and remain off their radar.

5. CEO firing: The Uber board did the once unthinkable and forced out Kalanick in June. This came less than three months after the board gave him a vote of confidence.

6. Board fight, part I: VC firm Benchmark sued Kalanick and then went public with its reasons, following endless leaks. In a letter to employees, Benchmark wrote: “We know that many of you are asking why Benchmark filed a lawsuit against Travis last week. Perhaps the better question is why we didn’t act sooner… We are sorry that it has taken us so long to do the right thing.”

7. CEO search: A normally secretive process instead played out in public due to infighting by the board and incessant leaks. It got so bad that one finalist, HP CEO Meg Whitman, publicly took herself out of the running. Though she later apparently put herself back in the running and then lost out at the very last minute to dark horse Khosrowshahi. Whitman then publicly re-committed herself to HP. Then she later announced she was going to leave HP. Uber will make you do confusing things like that, I guess.

8. Board fight, part II: Hiring a new CEO brought approximately one nanosecond of peace. Ousted CEO Kalanick launched a power play to regain leverage on the board as the new CEO attempted to restructure it to limit the bad boy’s role. The result devolved into another display of public criticism from rival board factions, but it eventually ended with Khosrowshahi getting his way.

9. Losing its London license: Amid the distractions and chaos, someone forgot to make sure the lights stayed on. In September, a London transportation agency yanked Uber’s operating permits because it’s not a “fit and proper operator.” Also, the company was basically acting like jerk, the agency said: “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.” I say!

10. Hack: In November, the company’s new CEO dropped a bombshell. The previous year hackers accessed personal data of approximately 57 million Uber riders and drivers — a hack that previously went undisclosed. Oops! Actually, “disclosed” is being nice. The company allegedly paid off the hackers to keep quiet about it, and then decided to keep it under wraps.

11. Spying: No respite of bad news in December thanks to the disclosure of a letter by a former Uber employee in the lawsuit involving Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo. According to the New York Times: “The 37-page letter, written on behalf of Richard Jacobs, a former Uber security employee, detailed what he described as the formation of separate internal teams designed ‘expressly for the purpose of acquiring trade secrets’ from major ride-sharing competitors around the world.”

For runner-up honors, we might mention in passing the Uber driver arrested in the murder of a British diplomat; SoftBank offering to buy shares at a price far below Uber’s previous valuation of $70 billion; a federal investigation into Uber’s actions in the Waymo case; a European Union court ruling that Uber was a taxi service and could be regulated as such; widening losses in the third quarter; a suit filed in San Francisco accusing the company of race and gender discrimination; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sanctioning Uber for failing to protect users’ data and requiring it to undergo 20 years of audits; and being subject of a report indicating it has been sued 433 times so far in 2017.

 

https://venturebeat.com/2017/12/23/11-worst-stories-from-ubers-year-in-hell/

Uber driver with criminal past arrested after British woman diplomat, 30, murdered, left by side of road

 

December 18th, 2017

A Lebanese Uber driver with “previous criminal violations” was arrested Monday in connection with the murder of a British diplomat, whose body was found on the side of a highway near Beirut over the weekend, according to officials.

Rebecca Dykes, who worked at the British embassy in Lebanon, was found strangled on Saturday after a night out with colleagues. A man was arrested at his apartment after authorities traced his car through security cameras that showed the vehicle traveling from Beirut to the area where Dykes’ body was found, officials said Monday.

The driver, whose name has not been released, confessed to killing the 30-year-old woman. Officials called the murder a “criminal act” that was not politically motivated.

Little information was released about the suspect, but a senior Lebanese security source told Sky News the man was an Uber driver. The ride-sharing company said in a statement Fox News that it is working with authorities in the investigation.

"We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victim and her family. We are working with authorities to assist their investigation in any way they can,” an Uber spokesperson told Fox News.

Police are still investigating the cause of death and whether she was sexually assaulted.  

Dykes met friends and colleagues Friday night at a bar in Beirut’s Gemayze neighborhood, known for its restaurants and pubs where diplomats and journalists are often seen, Sky News reported. She left the bar around midnight, where the driver picked her up and drove her to a nearby neighborhood where she lived — but didn’t drop her off, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said.

The man then tried to sexually assault her and strangled her with a rope before dumping her body on the side of the highway, NNA reported. Lebanese media added that marks were found on her neck.

When Dykes’ body was found, there were no items pointing to her identity and she had no money or a cellular telephone. Authorities released a drawing of her in order for people who know her to come forward and identify her.

Dykes, who was expected to flying home for Christmas on Saturday, had been working as a program and policy manager at the Department of International Development since January. Her social media page said she was from London, previously attended the University of Manchester and University of London.

Friends told Sky News Dykes was “a very cautious, astute and highly intelligent woman.”

“She had the highest level of security training,” the unidentified friend said. "I know she followed procedures, especially in the job she did. She was very charming, sociable and dedicated to her work.”

The friend added, “She wasn't the kind of girl to be walking around on her own. She was always in control.”

Her family released a statement saying they were “devastated” by the death and requested the media respect their privacy “at this very difficult time.”

"The whole embassy is deeply shocked and saddened by this news," said British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter in a statement, "Our thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss."

The murder has shaken Lebanon, where such crimes, particularly against foreigners, are relatively uncommon. Beirut has been considered relatively safe despite recent chaos in the Middle East.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/18/uber-driver-with-criminal-past-arrested-after-british-woman-diplomat-30-murdered-left-by-side-road.html

Uber hit with $8.9 million fine in Colorado for letting unqualified drivers on its platform

One driver was an escaped convict

by Andrew J. Hawkins Nov 21, 2017, 1:16pm EST

Colorado has ordered Uber to pay a fine of $8.9 million for allowing individuals with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses, or without valid licenses, to drive for the company, Reuters reports. The company blamed an “error” in its background check process for the bad drivers.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said its probe found violations that included 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 drivers with major moving-vehicle violations, and three drivers with a type of driver’s license required only after recent drunk-driving convictions. The commission said that Uber’s background checks also failed to identify a number of aliases used by their drivers, including one driver who was “a convicted felon, habitual offender, and at one point in his past had escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections.” Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber. The company was cited $2,500 a day for each day a disqualified driver was found to have worked.

“THE COMPANY’S BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE INADEQUATE”

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” Doug Dean, the commission’s director, said in a statement. “PUC staff was able to find felony convictions that the company’s background checks failed to find, demonstrating that the company’s background checks are inadequate. In other cases, we could not confirm criminal background checks were even conducted by Uber.”

In a statement, Uber says it recently discovered a “process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ride-sharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action. Per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations, drivers with access to the Uber app must undergo a nationally accredited third-party background screening. We will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.” Asked if the company planned on paying the fine, a spokesperson said they were “evaluating our options.”

This isn’t the first time Uber has been reprimanded for its security policies. In 2014, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco sued the ride-hailing company for claiming its background checks were the most thorough in the industry, despite the fact that Uber does not take drivers' fingerprints like many taxi companies do. Uber paid $10 million to settle the suit. A new lawsuit seeking class action status was filed recently by two anonymous women who claim to have been raped or assaulted by Uber drivers. Their lawsuit is seeking to force Uber to implement stricter background check policies.

Fingerprinting drivers is a common point of contention between Uber and local governments. The company left out of Austin, Texas, after city officials there passed a law requiring finger printing for drivers. (Uber has since returned after a state law was passed voiding the requirement.)

In response to the Colorado decision, Uber notes that the state’s laws governing app-based ride-hailing services are uniquely strict. According to current Colorado law, a driver convicted of a felony for nonviolent crimes, such as trespassing or forgery, in their lifetime would not be eligible to drive for Uber in Colorado.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/21/16685908/uber-colorado-fine-unqualified-drivers-convict