Uber Rider Who Killed Driver Stated She Thought She Was Being Kidnapped


Daniel Piedra Garcia had been an Uber driver for 3 weeks when he picked up a rider on June 16 who was headed to the Talking Rock On line casino in El Paso. It was close to the tip of his work day, however Mr. Piedra had picked up the rider anyway, his household mentioned.

As they handed an indication for Juarez, Mexico, a close-by metropolis over the border, the passenger grew nervous about the place they had been headed, she instructed the authorities. In accordance with court docket paperwork, she mentioned that she feared she was being kidnapped and brought to Mexico.

That’s when the passenger, Phoebe Capos, 48, grabbed a brown-and-silver revolver from her purse and shot Mr. Piedra, 52, within the head, the authorities mentioned. The automobile crashed right into a roadway barrier earlier than coming to a cease on U.S. Route 54.

Ms. Copas was initially charged with aggravated assault, however that was upgraded to homicide after Mr. Piedra died at a hospital on June 21.

A decide set bond for Ms. Copas at $1.5 million. Her lawyer, Matthew James Kozik, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

In accordance with an affidavit ready by a detective for the El Paso Police Division, Ms. Copas was visiting from Kentucky and on her approach to meet her boyfriend on the Talking Rock On line casino, the place he labored. The route that Mr. Piedra was driving was “a standard path to drive” to the requested vacation spot, in response to the court docket doc, and the placement the place Ms. Copas shot Mr. Piedra was not close to “a bridge, port of entry or different space with speedy entry to journey into Mexico.”

Ms. Copas didn’t name the police to report her being in any speedy hazard earlier than capturing Mr. Piedra, the affidavit mentioned. After she shot him, it famous, she took an image of Mr. Piedra and texted it to her boyfriend earlier than she referred to as 911.

When officers arrived on the scene, Ms. Copas was being helped out of the automobile by her boyfriend, in response to the court docket doc, and she or he dropped “every thing she was holding in her palms on the bottom,” together with a brown-and-silver handgun.

In a press release, Uber mentioned it was “horrified” by Ms. Copas’s actions “that took the lifetime of Mr. Piedra.”

“We’ve been in contact together with his household, and our ideas are together with his family members throughout this unimaginably troublesome time,” the corporate mentioned. “We banned the rider as quickly as we had been made conscious of what occurred and have been in touch with police.”

Mr. Piedra began driving for Uber in current weeks as a second job to assist make ends meet for his household, together with his spouse, Ana Piedra, and their nephew Luis Barragán, 16, whom they’d raised since he was 3 months previous.

In April, Mr. Piedra underwent knee surgical procedure after a metallic rack fell on him whereas he was working as a diesel mechanic, his household mentioned. However he misplaced pay after the damage, Ms. Piedra mentioned, and determined to select up some further work that he may carry out whereas sitting down.

On June 16, Mr. Piedra started the day by making espresso for his spouse. He requested her to make him a burrito as a result of he was going to be out for the day, she mentioned. Then he left as a result of he had an Uber pickup.

“He left the home pleased,” Ms. Piedra mentioned in an interview on Monday. “He didn’t come again.”

When Mr. Piedra didn’t return that afternoon, Ms. Piedra, mentioned she referred to as and texted him a number of occasions to no avail.

Didi Lopez, a cousin of Mr. Piedra’s, mentioned that members of the family started calling space hospitals. When a neighborhood information report a few capturing of an unidentified Uber driver started to flow into, they referred to as the police.

Ms. Lopez remembered Mr. Piedra as somebody who was all the time trying to make others snort. She final noticed him a few month in the past at her sister’s commencement social gathering. Some members of the family had been sitting on the sting of the pool as a substitute of swimming, so he determined to splash them, Ms. Lopez mentioned.

“Even when he was annoying different folks,” Ms. Lopez mentioned, “the entire level was him making you snort.”

Driver advocacy teams and members of Congress have pressured gig corporations to enhance the security measures meant to guard their drivers.

It’s uncommon for an Uber driver to be harmed on the job, nevertheless it does occur. Final yr, Uber’s safety report mentioned {that a} whole of 19 drivers had been killed in 2019 and 2020 — 14 in crashes and 5 in assaults.

However a recent report by Gig Staff Rising, an advocacy group, indicated that these numbers are climbing and estimated that 31 driving or supply app-based employees — additionally together with Lyft and DoorDash — had been killed on the job in 2022.

Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *