An Uber driver, Danyal Cheema, in Long Island was charged with second-degree manslaughter in early November 2018 after a 15-year-old boy fell from the roof of the driver’s vehicle while car surfing in September.
Newsday reported that on September 23, 2018, Ryan Mullen, who was a student at St. Anthony’s High School and from Cold Spring Harbor, along with two 16-year-old friends, attended several parties in the Cold Spring Harbor area prior to requesting an Uber. According to the prosecutor, it is believed the teenagers had been drinking. They are in the process of determining where the alcohol came from.
The young men offered Cheema $70 to let them ride on top of his 2010 Toyota Highlanders, while the third teenager was to record the event. They changed their minds and offered $40. Mullen and another teenager climbed on the car. While the third person recorded, Mullen fell from the Highlander as it drove away. Mullen struck his head on the road and sustained a fatal skull fracture.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car surfing involves riding on the top or exterior of a moving vehicle that is being driven by another person. Between 1900 and 2008, 58 individuals have died while committing the act.
Cheema, 24, of Huntington Station, will face a five to 15-year prison sentence if found guilty. He pleaded not guilty at the arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip. Judge Jennifer A. Henry set bail at $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond.
Prosecutors believe the manslaughter charge for the death of Muller is appropriate because they claim the reckless decisions and conduct carried out by the Uber driver resulted in Muller’s death. In conjunction with Muller’s parents, they believe Cheema, as the adult, should have been responsible enough to tell the teenagers to get down from the vehicle.
Uber is cooperating with the ongoing investigation. According to an email from an Uber spokeswoman, Cheema has been deactivated and removed from the app.
Uber drivers have a responsibility to follow all traffic laws, abide by Uber’s company policies, and provide safe and reliable transport for their customers. If you’ve had an experience with a reckless rideshare driver and you were injured as a result, you may be able to take legal action. For information on how to proceed, contact our nationwide uber accident attorneys today.