Tragic news this past weekend shattered the hearts of two South Carolina parents when they received the news that all parents fear — their daughter has been found dead.
University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, 21, was leaving the bars Friday night in what she thought was her safe Uber ride home. About 14 hours later, her body was found more than 65 miles away in the woods of South Carolina. Surveillance cameras captured footage of Josephson getting into a black Chevy Impala. That was the last time she was seen alive. The owner of the vehicle, Nathaniel David Rowland, has been arrested and will be charged with kidnapping and murder.
However, this is not the first time this ride-share mistake has happened. One NBC reporter shares the story of another victim who was physically and sexually assaulted by an imposter Uber driver, and shows just how easy it is to fool unsuspecting ride-share customers:
Uber and Lyft both have safety tips on their respective websites, and implore customers to verify all information about their drivers before entering the ride-share vehicle. Lyft has a 24/7 helpline for customer emergencies. Below are a few safety tips from Uber’s website:
- Get in the right car — Before you get in the car, check that license plate, driver photo, and driver name all match what’s listed in the app. Uber rides can only be requested through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride.
- Share your trip details with a friend — While en route, tap “Share status” in the app to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the Uber app.
- Buckle up — The Centers for Disease Control reports that seatbelt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries related to car accidents.
- Protect your personal information — There’s no need to share your phone number or other contact information with your driver. If a rider and driver need to contact each other, the Uber app automatically anonymizes both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy.
- Follow your intuition — Trust your instincts and use your best judgement when riding with Uber. And if you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.
Another way to ensure you get in the right vehicle is rather than giving away your name, ask the driver to confirm who they are picking up, as would appear on the app with an official driver of Uber of Lyft.
After more than 30 years representing injury victims in car wrecks, truck wrecks, and motorcycle accidents, the experienced team of DFW Metroplex auto accident attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley have seen the consequences of negligence first-hand. If you have sustained injuries because of a car wreck which was not your fault, contact us now for a free and confidential case review. Fill out our form online, or call 214-526-7900, and we will get you on the road to recovery.