A rideshare driver is planning to sue Lyft after he says his car was targeted in a drive-by shooting, and then says he was physically assaulted, all while promised safety features in his app didn't properly function.
A dramatic dashcam video shows the terrifying moments bullets tore through the man's rideshare vehicle, shattering the rear windshield and narrowly missing both the driver and his passengers.
"He was terrified. He didn’t have any clue what was going on," Bryant Greening, an attorney representing the driver, told NBC 5.
Greening, the co-founder of Legal Ride Share LLC, says just a few minutes into the ride, two female passengers started to voice concern that someone was following them.
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"As [they] stopped at a red light, a dark SUV pulled up next to the vehicle and started shooting into the car aiming at the passengers," said Greening.
The driver does not want to be identified for fear of retaliation. His attorney says they are in the process of filing litigation against the rideshare company, and they plan to sue for damages, not only related to the car but also physical injuries and emotional trauma.
"When the shots were fired, my client acted quickly and followed his training to contact Lyft’s assistance through their panic button. He was connected to a security agent and was under the impression Lyft was going to follow its promises to provide real-time location data to the police," said Greening. "As my client continued to drive his vehicle, he believed help was on its way, and unfortunately it never came."
In the dash cam video, the passengers can be heard screaming at the driver to "go faster" as he calls for help. Several minutes later, the driver dropped off the passengers near 65th and King Drive where he's confronted by a man who opens his car door and begins punching him.
He's able to get away and flag down Chicago police, who confirm an investigation is underway but no arrests have been made. The driver transported himself to an emergency room after filing a report, according to his attorney.
"My client is treating for orthopedic injuries to his face from the fists he encountered. He’s also being treated for emotional injury," said Greening.
In a statement, Lyft called the incident "deeply concerning," and that it is offering full support to the driver.
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is deeply concerning. We have been in touch with the driver to offer our support and stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation," a spokesperson told NBC 5.
On it's safety page Lyft writes, "If you ever feel uncomfortable and want support from a trained security professional, you can discreetly connect with ADT. If needed, ADT will alert emergency services with your vehicle's make and model, license plate number and your drop-off location so you can get help right away."
The company says that its app also allows users to share location information with family and friends in real-time. The app also has a "smart trip check-in" feature, which allows Lyft to contact drivers and riders if their vehicle has stopped too soon or for an unusual amount of time.
Greening says his client wants the company to enhance its safety app to ensure that its features work properly.
"No driver should ever have to go through this experience, particularly because Lyft has the technology to prevent it," said Greening.