Travis Smith, 36, is being charged with battery and child abuse in Flagler County after police viewed a video of him attacking his Lyft driver.
The Lyft driver, whose identity has not been released by police, was transporting Smith, his seven-year-old child, and another passenger when Smith began questioning the driver about the partition in his vehicle. Dash cam video captured the following:
“How did you seal that up … like, you did that yourself?” Smith asks.
“Yea, I did it myself,” the driver responds.
The conversation continues and Smith eventually calls the driver a “liar” before a light turns on in the back of the vehicle.
“Did you open the door man?” the driver says.
“Nope, nobody has opened the door,” Smith responds.
Just over a minute later, Smith pulled the partition down and grabbed the driver from behind. The driver started to lose control of the vehicle as Smith put them in a chokehold. The driver stopped the car and the other passenger and child fled from the vehicle. When Flagler County officers responded to the scene, they observed the two men physically fighting in the street.
Smith, who was visibly intoxicated, told police he attacked the driver because he started driving recklessly. The Lyft driver, however, said Smith suddenly attacked him, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The video footage confirmed the driver’s side of the story. Smith was booked into a local jail, and released after posting $7,500 bond.
In response to this incident, Lyft released the following statement: “The health and safety of our community is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is deeply troubling. We have removed the rider from the Lyft community and stand ready to work with law enforcement.”
This has not been the first incident where rideshare drivers and passengers have gotten into altercations as a result of COVID-19 policies and procedures. In other cities across the country, drivers have reported being harassed and attacked for asking passengers to wear masks or abide by other rideshare company virus mitigation policies.
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