HALTOM CITY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Ride share giant ‘Uber’ could be facing another lawsuit connected to safety concerns: this time a North Texas driver is threatening to sue after she says she was attacked by drunken passengers in March.
“It was surreal,” says Zonya Robinson at her attorney’s office today in Dallas. “I was in shock.”
Robinson says she was just minutes into a routine trip from Fort Worth to Haltom City, with a woman and three men. She says the front seat passenger requested a sexual favor– and then responded with fury and racial slurs when she refused.
“He proceeded to tell me that they’re going to “f” me up, they’re ‘N’ killers,” shared Robinson. “I felt like, he’s sitting next to me, he’s a threat.”
Robinson says she pulled off the highway in Haltom City and told the woman who summoned the ride and the men with her to get out: then the situation only worsened.
“The first assailant threw the bottle at my face,” says Robinson, showing reporters where she was wounded. “I put my hands up, the bottle actually broke on my hands.” Robinson says there was “blood everywhere, glass all in my hair, glass all in the console. The police officer actually cut his hand on the glass on the door.”
On Monday, Robinson heaped praise on those Haltom City officers.
“They made me feel protected, they calmed me,” shared Robinson. “They were very angry that it happened to me. They made sure I was okay. They got it right.”
The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that a grand jury indicted one of the passengers, Konstantino Garefos, for aggravated assault in May. Robinson says another man threw a bottle at her, but missed. Her attorney says that passenger was ‘no billed’ by the grand jury, but he is encouraging the DA’s office to take another look at the case.
“He threatened to kill her,” says Larry Taylor, Managing Partner with The Cochran Firm. “He called her the ‘N’ word. And so there’s still a couple of questions that have not been answered.”
Both Taylor and Robinson say they want answers from Uber, who they claim has been silent on the attack.
“There was no protection,” says Robinson. “There was no covering. I feel like I was disowned. They did tell me someone would reach out. no one ever did.”
When contacted, an Uber spokesperson responded with the following statement: “Violence has no place anywhere and what’s been described is unacceptable. Our team has been in contact with
Ms. Robinson and following her reports, we permanently banned the rider accounts from the Uber app.”
Perhaps. But, Robinson and her attorney still say that Uber has been silent on the attack and needs to do more to protect drivers.
“With technology the way it is, Uber could easily have an Onster approach,” says Taylor. “Female drivers could push a button to let Uber know, track me, or I’m in distress, so Uber can call police or a mic would come on.”
They both say the goal of the lawsuit is to force change.
“It’s not just about me,” says Robinson. “I want to see a response team in every city: when something like this happens, there needs to be a person that you can touch.” She acknowledges that there are safety protocols built into the app; but, she stresses that when a driver is behind the wheel and an unruly passenger gets out of hand, an app is not the answer for that.
She say she’s hoping to see a better response from Uber before deciding whether to move forward with the lawsuit.
“They spent 5 million dollars to add extra added security for passengers. where is that same money for your drivers?”