CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Uber driver says he felt an excruciating pain as he was driving – only to discover he’d been shot in the back by one of his own passengers.
As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported Tuesday, the Uber driver, Adebayo Adeyemo – Bayo for short – drove himself to the emergency room at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. He is still recovering there, and he is also calling on Uber to make changes.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: Snow Totals From Lake Effect Snowstorm
Adeyemo said he had a bad feeling about his passenger based on their conversation leading up to the shooting — but felt pressured to continue the ride because drivers are encouraged to keep their cancellation rates low.
“I have been scared to be in public,” he said. “I have been scared to go back to work.”
Adeyemo said that per Uber’s policy, he only had a first name for the passenger — “Luis” — when he picked him up on Oct. 20. The man was acting strangely — and made a comment about Adeyemo’s race, “explaining how Mexicans did not like Blacks,” according to the report made by Illinois State Police.
Expressway cameras on the Dan Ryan captured Adeyemo’s black Volvo on the road.
Soon after, Adeyemo said: “I heard a loud bang and I felt a sharp pain in my back. The passenger then told me that I had been shot.”
Terrified, Adeyemo drove himself to Stroger Hospital, and “Luis” jumped out and ran.
Adeyemo had been shot in back. He had a ruptured spleen and fractured ribs.
The next day, investigators were able to get more information from Uber — and the rider was taken into custody two days after the shooting.READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Added To Lawsuit Over Removal Of Christopher Columbus Statue In Little Italy
“Now, do we know that this was racially motivated? No, we don’t,” said Adeyemo’s attorney Bryant Greening with Legal Rideshare LLC. “But that comment made Bayo feel uncomfortable, and Bayo should have had the option to cancel the ride at that point.”
“Uber’s drivers are expected to keep their cancellation rates low, and if they cancel too many rides, they are you know they can lose access to the platform,” Greening said. “They need to have more discretion over the times that they cannot accept a ride – or cancel a ride – during a ride. If they feel uncomfortable, they should be able to leave the situation.”
We wanted to know — how often do drivers get assaulted like this? Uber released a safety report in 2019 detailing deaths and sexual assaults.
But the company does not include info on cases like Adeyemo’s, where the driver is assaulted but not killed.
Ultimately, the rider in this case was charged in the shooting. But Adeyemo hopes his experience leads to change.
“I am scared for myself, and all my fellow drivers,” he said. “We really need movers help to make this a safe experience for everyone.”
The lawsuit asks for $50,000 to help pay Adeyemo’s medical expenses. Uber declined to comment on this story citing pending litigation.
The company has said that the vast majority of trips on the Uber platform result in no issues.MORE NEWS: Illinois DCFS Director Marc Smith On Hot Seat Before State Lawmakers Over Lack Of Beds And Foster Homes For Kids, Other Issues
We also asked Uber late Tuesday on whether they offer any kind of assistance to drivers seriously injured on the job. Uber responded with this statement:
“Optional Injury Protection insurance is designed to help provide people driving or delivering with Uber with peace of mind in case the unexpected happens. We believe that drivers deserve the opportunity to be protected if they’re in an accident and are unable to drive or deliver—and are therefore unable to make money—or have to pay for medical expenses.”