Woman Says Uber Driver Broke Her Jaw After He Threw Her Out Of The Car
A woman says her Uber driver threw her out of his car and broke her jaw on New Year's Day.
Krystal Ortiz, a 29-year-old fashion sales representative, says that after a night of drinking in Hollywood on New Year's Eve, she called an Uber to take her home. However, the driver—identified only as 'Michael'—became upset with her during the ride and ordered her out of the car, KTLA reports. Ortiz recorded some of this interaction with the driver using her cell phone, including him telling her that he'd drag her out of the car if she didn't get out on her own.
According to Ortiz's lawyer, Ernest Algorri, Ortiz didn't want to just get out of the car because she was in an unfamiliar area far from home and it was dark, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day. The driver ultimately gets out of the car, walks over to where Ortiz is seated and opens the door. This is where the cell phone recording stops, but Ortiz claims the driver then yanked her out of the car, hit her in the face and threw her to the ground. She said she suffered a shattered jaw that required reconstructive surgery, cuts and scrapes to her knees, and that the driver also smashed her phone.
Uber said that the driver has been dropped from their service. Ortiz is seeking criminal charges and civic action against both the driver and Uber, saying at a press conference yesterday that Uber holds "themselves in a safe and responsible way for people to transport themselves, and I relied up on them to provide this," NBC Los Angeles reports.
The LAPD says the driver has also filed a complaint against Ortiz, claiming battery.
It's not entirely clear what the initial argument was over. Ortiz's attorneys said in the press conference that the driver became upset when Ortiz asked to use a charger in the car, though other outlets are reporting he became upset over a conversation she was having with another passenger. The voice of another woman can be heard on Ortiz's cell phone recording, also telling Ortiz to get out of the car.