Vallejo woman fears for her life, escapes her Lyft ride, and files a lawsuit against the company.
A Vallejo, California woman, Gsa Gsa Ward, has alleged in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court against Lyft, she had a particularly traumatic experience. Her driver “pulled into a dark lane, stopped the car and locked the doors, forcing her to flee out the vehicle’s window,” according to her claims.
Ward alleges she called the driver to take her from her home to a nearby convenience store just after 1:00 A.M. in April 2019. The lawsuit explains, “Ms. Ward believed hailing a Lyft ride would be safer than walking at night.” Lyft did not provide her with the driver’s full name, but that the app said he went by “Rex.”
“Soon after the ride began, Rex drove off course, turning down a dark side street without explanation,” the suit says. “Ms. Ward asked Rex what he was doing and got no response, so she began tapping him on the shoulder to get his attention. Rex then pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car, and locked the doors. When Ward tapped the man again, he responded with the only vocalizations she ever heard from him, a gurgling ‘mm mm’ sound he’d first made after she’d given him directions to the gas station with the store. Rex then lowered his sun visor, revealing a crystal meth pipe. Ms. Ward exclaimed ‘Oh No!’ and Rex reached down for something that Ms. Ward could not see.”
At that point, Ward wanted to get out and she tried to open her door, but it was locked. She was forced to try to escape through the window. “As Ms. Ward was climbing through her window, Rex attempted to close the window on her,” the suit claimed. But she managed to pull herself out and ran home.
Before she had an opportunity to call Lyft, Ward said she received a call indicating the company had a report that she’d left the ride via the window. Lyft was asking her if she’d done that because she didn’t want to pay.”
“She also received an email from Lyft at 1:20 a.m. admonishing her not to ‘jump out of the car when it is in motion’ when she could ‘simply request that the driver stop to let you out,’” according to the suit.
Ward’s filing comes at the same time that Lyft is facing a “mass tort” lawsuit by dozens of women alleging sexual assault by drivers. Uber has also had multiple claims of inappropriate driver conduct.
Lyft responded to her case that “safety is fundamental to the company. Since day one, we have designed products and policies that help protect both riders and drivers and will continue our work to make Lyft an even safer platform for our community.” The company added, it “requires initial and annual background checks for drivers and conducts continuous monitoring related to crime and driving records. Passengers can access emergency help via the app and reach a live person at any time after a ride.”