Passenger charged with trying to kill Oceanside Lyft driver

Posted at 8:31 AM, Sep 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-08 11:36:38-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — A man is charged with attempted murder after attacking his Oceanside Lyft driver and taking his vehicle on a high-speed pursuit.

The driver, 80-year-old Clay Daves, is in the hospital but, as his wife, Jeanne, says he's a survivor. But he has a long road ahead of him after he picked up a Lyft fare on Sunday.

"I was by Clay's bed...Here he is. He's intubated," Jeanne said. "I just started crying."

RELATED: San Diego Lyft driver stabs passenger in chest followingargument

Police said his passenger, identified as 44-yeard-old Leonardo Tellez, started spraying Daves with a bottle of water. Tellez then reached over the seat and tried to choke him. Daves stopped the car and laid on the horn.

"The guy just choked him worse, and for some odd reason clay had gotten the passenger door open, this lady had sense enough to run over and see what was happening to Clay, distracted the man in the car and was able to get him to safety."

Tellez took off in the car equipped, though police were able to track it. After a high-speed chase into Los Angeles County, a spike strip stopped the speeding car and CHP officers took Tellez into custody.

RELATED: Man convicted of hitting, killing Lyft driver sentenced

Tellez could seen on video during his arrest yelling, "Demons are alive...It's real, believe me, it's all real." 

Jeanne says her husband may not look it, but he's staying strong. His voice doesn't work, but he still finds words by writing on this notepad: A heart for his wife. And for his attacker: 

 "To forgive him in person," Jeanne said as she held the notepad. And another note: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."