SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — A Solana Beach man said he was choked by his Uber driver after a night out with family and friends. He said he hopes sharing his story will prevent this from happening to anyone else.
After a fun gathering at his family's beach house Saturday night, a 24-year-old Solana Beach resident, who we will call John Doe, called for an Uber for himself and three others. He said he tried to sit in the front seat, but the driver said that was against Uber policy. As John Doe got out, he said the driver suddenly changed his tone.
"That point is when he [the driver] said, 'Let's fight,' and exited the vehicle," John Doe said.
John Doe said within seconds, the driver began fighting with his fiance.
"When I tried to get in the middle of that, that's when he placed his hands around my neck," John Doe remembered.
John Doe said it was oddly the Uber driver who then called 9-1-1 to report his passengers. But when San Diego Sheriff's Deputies arrived, they arrested the driver, 40-year-old Jung Hyun Kang.
"I went to the doctor, and I have some swelling, and it still feels like when I swallow, there's something in my throat," John Doe explained his injuries.
The Sheriff's Department said Kang was arrested for assault and was released after posting bail. At his request, ABC 10News is not revealing John Doe's identity, for he said he fears retaliation.
Uber sent ABC 10News this statement:
"Violence of any kind is not tolerated on the app and the driver was immediately deactivated. Uber stands ready to work with law enforcement on their investigation."
The rideshare company also has safety features on its app, including an Emergency button where riders and drivers can call or text 9-1-1. If this feature is used in select cities, including San Diego, the ride's information will automatically be sent to 9-1-1 dispatchers.
"Hopefully, they can do something to prevent this from happening again," John Doe said. "Everyone takes Uber, so it's scary. I don't think I will ever take Uber again."
Uber said as another safety feature, the company publicly shares the names of banned drivers on its platform.