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Uber Driver Suing Former Taco Bell Exec Who Attacked Him
An Uber driver who recorded a video on his dashcam of his passenger attacking him last week, is now suing the rider.
On Tuesday, Edward Caban filed a civil lawsuit with the Superior Court of California in Orange County against former Taco Bell executive, 32-year-old Benjamin Golden, ABC 7 reports. He's claiming that Golden's attack on him caused damages in excess of $25,000 for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Golden was arrested on Oct. 30 in Newport Beach, and was charged on Tuesday with assault on a public transportation property, battery on a public transit employee with injury, assault and battery, ABC News reports. If convicted, Golden could face up to a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
"Based on the evidence, we filed the charges we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt," Roxi Fyad, spokeswoman for the Orange County DA's office, told CNBC.
Golden's attorneys, Anita Kay and Courtney Pilchman, said in a statement that he wants to meet Cabon in person privately to apologize, according to the L.A. Times. "Mr. Golden recognizes that despite his level of intoxication, he should have never slapped Mr. Caban and is extremely remorseful for his actions," his attorneys said.
The incident took place last Friday night, when Caban said he picked up a very drunk Golden near Baja Sharkeez on Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Caban, who recorded the incident on his dashcam, told NBC Los Angeles that Golden wouldn't put his destination address in the Uber phone app, nor would he give him directions. He also said Golden wouldn't put on his seat belt.
In the video, the passenger can be seen toppling over in the backseat when Caban makes a turn on the road. At one point, Caban tells his passenger the ride is over and that he'll call the police if he stays in his car. The passenger then violently smacks and punches Caban's head several times, grabbing his hair, and cursing at him. Caban maces him in the face, and the passenger gets out before he's arrested by Costa Mesa police.
Update: The original video has been taken down from YouTube, and we've since replaced it with this longer version.
Golden was booked on charges of assault and public intoxication. A police report obtained by CNBC said that Golden had bloodshot eyes and "fumbled through paperwork looking for registration." He also failed his sobriety test.
"When asked, subject stated that he had come from the Big Bar and had a couple of drinks, stating two," the report said. "When pulled out of car, subject changed story to 'three beers.'"
After news of Golden's arrest, Taco Bell, the company he worked at as the Mobile Experience & Innovation Lead, fired him. "Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us," Taco Bell said in a statement. "We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help."
Golden was released from jail on a $500 bail, but the DA's office is requesting a $20,000 bail for Golden, who will be arraigned in court on Nov. 17. His license has been suspended for a month, prosecutors say.
An Uber spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News: "We will provide any information to the investigating authorities as needed. The rider involved in this incident has been permanently banned from the platform."
Caban says he's been rattled by the incident, and doesn't feel safe driving for Uber anymore. He set up a GoFundMe account asking for $1,000 for a medical fund, which he has raised the full amount already within one day. He wrote:
I have barely slept since the incident, and am suffering from ongoing headaches I have become paranoid and have been having anxiety attacks daily. I have no medical insurance, and am in desperate need to see a mental health professional, as well as follow ups with a doctor. I am not normaly the kind of person to reach out for help, especially from the public, but I no longer feel safe doing my job as a Rideshare Driver, and I desperatley need funds so that I am able to get both physical and mental care from my incident. I am also trying to move out of California and back to my home in Seattle after the incident. I am so thankful for all the support and kind wordsI have received from the media, friends, family, and complete strangers. Thank you so much everyone.