DAYTON — A woman who drives for Lyft says about two weeks after a rideshare driver was killed, she no longer feels safe and doesn’t feel protected on the job.
“I’ve lost everything I built up over a year and a half over a one week period of me not feeling comfortable anymore,” said Angila Huelsman.
Huelsman drives for DoorDash, Uber and Lyft, but said she mostly does Lyft for the better incentives as she works overnight to support her four children.
She said she began having trouble the same night Brandon Cooper was shot and killed on Ferguson Avenue in late January.
Huelsman said she wasn’t feeling well and had to make a quick stop and that’s when a person who hired her as a driver sent a message calling her a nasty name.
“All the sudden the message erased and I confronted Lyft, they are the only ones that can erase messages,” Huelsman said.
She said she was told the rider would not be put with her, but she worried about other drivers. She later heard about another female Lyft driver being carjacked and then the death of Cooper. Now, she even wonders if she’s to blame and if her fare was the teens accused of killing Cooper.
“And its about the same area. I feel really bad; I got sick and that guy died because of me,” Huelsman said.
Police tracked down the teens at a home on Anna Avenue. They were arrested after an hours-long standoff.
Huelsman said she has since called Uber and Lyft and told them she’s not sure she feels safe working for the companies.
A Lyft spokesperson told News Center 7 that “Safety is fundamental to Lyft.” The spokesperson went on to say that the company will continue their efforts to “combat this senseless violence and help keep drivers safe.”
“I don’t feel like they have my back. I have my own back, I need to make my money,” Huelsman said.
Huelsman showed News Center 7 that her driver rating had dropped because she can only bring herself to work days. Her app showed that her acceptance rate is down and her cancellation rate is up because of the precautions she’s not trying to take.
The teens appeared in juvenile court Thursday, where a judge ordered all of them remain in the juvenile justice center as their case moves forward. The judge cited the safety of the community in her decision. They are scheduled to be back in court in two weeks.
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