Police are investigating after an Uber driver allegedly dragged a woman a short distance when she hung onto his vehicle during an argument early Sunday in South Boston, authorities said.
Boston Police Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesman, said the incident unfolded around 2:59 a.m. Sunday in the area of East Fourth Street. Police were called for a disturbance, and the alleged victim said she’d left her phone in a rideshare vehicle earlier and had arranged for the driver to drop it off, according to Boyle.
Things got dicey when the driver demanded cash payment for delivering the phone, according to officials. Boyle said the woman indicated she didn’t have any money, and a verbal argument ensued.
As the woman approached the vehicle, Boyle said, the driver put the car in drive and accelerated forward as she was still holding onfor about half a block, Boyle said.
She suffered an injury to her cheek, and officers observed “minor swelling,” Boyle said. He said the woman declined medical attention.
It wasn’t immediately clear if any criminal charges were filed in connection with the incident. The case remains under investigation, Boyle said.
“What’s been described is unacceptable and in clear violation of our Community Guidelines,” Uber said in a statement. “We have been in touch with both the rider and driver and will take appropriate action.”
Ed Booth of Boxborough said via Facebook and YouTube that he witnessed the dragging episode while driving for Lyft and that his dash-cam captured it on video. He uploaded the disturbing footage to YouTube.
“Just before 3am on 10/17/21, while driving for Lyft and picking up passengers, I witnessed a person drive off with a woman hanging from the passengers door,” Booth wrote in a riveting description captioned beneath the clip. “She ran alongside and then fell to the ground. Her friend chased the driver, caught up to him and then jumped on the car, clinging to the driver’s side door. The driver eventually stopped, got out and an argument ensued. The driver finally left and drove away. We checked on the woman and she seemed okay. My passengers and I then left so I could take them to their destination.”
In the video, the Uber driver’s vehicle starts moving while the woman holds onto the passenger side, and someone can be heard saying “what the [expletive].” After a few seconds the woman, who’s forced to run to keep pace with the moving car, becomes separated from the vehicle and falls to the pavement.
But it doesn’t end there.
The woman’s male companion starts jogging after the vehicle and later jumps onto the car and hangs off the driver’s side door. The driver opens that door, with the man still hanging it from it, and exits the vehicle with a cellphone in his hand.
The Uber driver says nothing to the man hanging from his door and begins walking up the street, momentarily disappearing from view as Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” wafts softly from the Lyft driver’s speaker.
The Uber driver later reappears in the picture without the phone and waves as he looks backward and starts walking toward his abandoned vehicle. As the Uber driver makes his way back toward his vehicle, the man who’d been hanging on his door earlier can be heard angrily shouting “are you [expletive] serious?”
Booth reflected on the encounter in a Facebook posting.
“I witnessed this one late last night while driving for Lyft,” Booth wrote. “The guy drove off dragging this woman and then the guy she was with chased down the car and jumped on as the guy drove further down the road with him hanging out the driver’s window.”