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Uber driver: Mask dispute led to physical assault in La Mesa

Uber driver: mask dispute led physical assault in La Mesa
Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2021-10-06 18:30:20-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - An Uber driver says she was physically assaulted by a passenger Sunday night in La Mesa after a dispute over a mask.

"This is definitely the most insane experience driving with Uber that I've ever had," said Tia.
Just past 6 p.m. Sunday, Tia, who first started driving for Uber last summer, arrived for a pickup outside the Echo Pointe apartments.

Tia says a man and the passenger's sister ushered the passenger into the car with a warning for Tia: the passenger was drunk.

"She didn't have a mask on ... so I asked her if she could please put on a spare mask, which I had in the back seat. Took her awhile to put it on, but she did," said Tia.

As the ride got started, Tia says her passenger wouldn't let it go.

"She said in a very snarky tone, 'Are you more comfortable now that I have a mask on?' She was very drunk, very belligerent, yelling," said Tia.

Tia say she decided to end the ride.

"I was fed up with the disrespect," said Tia.

Tia says she returned to the pickup spot and asked her to get out repeatedly, but the woman refused. Tia recorded some of it on her phone. Tia, who eventually called 911, says when she got out of the car and reached in to remove the woman's belongings, the passenger grabbed her neck from behind.

According to Tia, the passenger became violent, chasing her around the car for several minutes, at one point hitting in the right eye. Tia says the passenger's sister and the man came out and subdued the woman, allowing Tia to drive away, and meet police and file a report.

"I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe I was assaulted for essentially wearing a mask ... People need to treat each other with respect. Wear a mask ... We're just trying to keep everybody safe," said Tia.

Tia says she's still feeling pain in her eye but she's feeling better. She's hoping an arrest is made so a message is sent: this behavior is not acceptable.

A La Mesa Police spokesperson says they are awaiting the report to be turned in by the officer before it is assigned to an investigator.