An Uber user was apparently taken on the ride of his life while visiting Washington D.C. this week. According to reports, Ryan W. Simonetti was kidnapped, held against his will and then involved in a high speed chase with police. I think it’s safe to say nobody had a worse Tuesday than Simonetti.
Simonetti says he was visiting Washington D.C. to meet with clients at the Verizon Center, and had planned to use Uber to visit his company’s new offices in Tysons Corner. But before Simonetti and his colleagues even got in the car, a D.C. taxi inspector was apparently talking to the Uber driver. All seemed fine, though, and Simonetti didn’t think anything of it. But as the inspector began walking away, allegedly to check on some documentation, the Uber driver floored it.
This prompted the taxi inspector to turn on his lights and follow—and this is all while Simonetti and his colleagues were still in the car. The Uber driver tried allaying Simonetti’s concerns by saying the taxi inspector wasn’t a real cop.
The driver then followed that up by saying, “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to run this red light.”
“It was like an episode of ‘Cops,’” Simonetti said. “We’ve all seen the ‘Cops’ episode. This only ends two ways. Either the car crashes or the guy jumps out and runs. And he had plenty of opportunities to slow down and jump out and run, and he wasn’t doing that.” Simonetti said the whole ordeal lasted about ten minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but I’m sure to Simonetti it felt like a whole lot longer.
The Uber driver was apparently trying to avoid getting a $2,000 fine.
Simonetti and his colleagues were eventually able to jump out of the vehicle as they were coming down an offramp, at which point the inspector pulled in front of the vehicle. The Uber driver, though, turned his car around and went the wrong way up the ramp back onto the highway.
Uber has responded by “deactivating” the driver, who hasn’t been named. Simonetti, though, has used this experience to question Uber, a service he loves, and its vetting process. In order to sign up to be an Uber driver, you need to provide relevant contact info, along with personal information so the service can conduct a background check. Drivers also need to be 21 or over, have a driver’s license (duh) and personal auto insurance.