DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Police said four teens were arrested for targeting rideshare drivers at gunpoint with the intent to steal their vehicles. An attorney with a law firm that represents rideshare drivers said attacks like this are becoming more common nationwide.
Four teens ages 15 to 16 were arrested on aggravated robbery and aggravated murder charges following two incidents early Wednesday morning.
Police said a female Lyft driver was robbed of her wallet, phone and vehicle at gunpoint. In another incident the same night, a 35-year-old male Lyft driver was found dead with a gunshot wound following a crash.
“The communication between these two detective units determined that both incidents were linked,” Lt. Jason Hall with the Dayton Police Department said.
A statement from a Lyft spokesperson in response to the incidents said:
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the actions that led to the events of this morning are reprehensible. Our hearts are with the driver’s loved ones during this incredibly difficult time, as well as with an additional driver who was impacted by this behavior. We’ve reached out to law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation, and we’ll continue our efforts to combat this senseless violence and help keep drivers safe.”
LegalRideshareLLC attorney and co-founder Bryant Greening said rideshare drivers are becoming victims of crimes more frequently because they are easy targets.
“They’re often pulled over on the side of the road, their doors are unlocked, they’re expecting that people are going to get in and out of their vehicles, their guards are often down,” Greening said.
LegalRideshareLLC is a law firm focused on Uber, Lyft and other app-based rideshare accident and injury claims.
The law firm offers offers dash cams to rideshare drivers and has established a $25,000 Driver Safety Fund. A portion of the fund go to purchasing dash cams, and the rest is provided as $1,000 rewards for those who report information leading to the conviction of people charged in rideshare driver-related crimes.
Greening said driver safety starts with the drivers watching out for red flag passengers, such as ones that use a fake looking name or profile.
“Many drivers are concerned about their acceptance rates, they’re concerned about retribution from the company, if that lightbulb goes off in your head that this isn’t a good situation to be in, you should extricate yourself from it,” Greening said.
Lyft told 2 NEWS the company does have safety measures in place to protect drivers. The company said they work to prevent carjacking by taking action against accounts that may show high-risk rider behavior. The Lyft app offers drivers an emergency help button through ADT. They also provide ride check-ins and have 24/7 safety support.
Greening said his firm would like to see rideshare companies and lawmakers take action to address driver safety.
“We would like to see the companies do more,” Greening said. “Put some real money, some real technology into making rideshare as safe as it can be. We would also like to see the state and local governments step in with some regulations that require safety not only for the passenger, but the driver as well.”