Cleveland area rideshare drivers afraid to get behind the wheel after at least 6 drivers carjacked

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In the past few months, at least six rideshare drivers have been carjacked in the Cleveland area. The most recent victim was a 43-year-old male Lyft driver.

Aaron Reedy was one of the few rideshare drivers we could find waiting at the Cleveland airport on Thursday.

“It is getting pretty dangerous out here,” Reedy told 19 News

Some of the drivers who were carjacked were also violently assaulted.

“It makes me not wanna drive because I have four kids, and I was in the military, and I made it back from Iraq,” said Reedy. “It would suck if I was hijacked or killed or something like that doing this.”

The most recent carjacking happened around midnight on Tuesday. A Lyft driver told police he picked up a teenage rider who asked him to make a stop along the way. Once the driver got to the intersection of East 102nd Street and Kingsbury Boulevard, the rider asked him to stop; that is when a second teen came up to the driver’s door and pointed a gun at him, forcing him out of his car. The two teens took off in his vehicle.

“I’ve heard of a few women that have been hurt; a guy in Lakewood was hurt,” Reedy said. “It’s made me wanna think about carrying, and you’re not allowed to carry if you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, so it’s getting to the point now where I’m really thinking about not doing this.”

Cleveland police spotted the stolen car with the two teenagers inside. Once police confirmed the plate was a match, they tried to pull them over at 93rd and Pratt, which turned into a chase throughout the 4th District. Eventually, the teens jumped out of the vehicle on Ludlow Road and ran off. Police have not found them yet, but they did find a gun inside the stolen car. Reedy says if you have been having trouble getting an Uber or Lyft recently, it is because people are too afraid to drive.

“I did pick up one other person this evening, and they waited 47 minutes just to get a driver, and it shows up like, here you can see how it’s red,” explained Reedy as he pointed to his cellphone screen. “Whenever it’s red like this, it means that it’s high demand, and people are just waiting and waiting for drivers to get here.”

Reedy has been considering buying a camera for his car with a panic button.

“It was like $250, and it’s gonna come out of my pocket, so, it’s not something that’s reimbursable from Uber or anything like that,” Reedy said. “They bought us partitions for going behind the seats to help with the COVID thing; I think that this is something that’s serious enough as well that they should at least offer a discount.”

Lyft sent 19 News the following statement, “Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is horrific. We have reached out to the driver to offer our support, removed the rider from the Lyft platform and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.”

Cleveland police are still searching for the two teenage boys involved in the most recent carjacking. If you have any information on that crime, contact Cleveland police.

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