‘I didn’t want to die’: Uber driver recounts confrontation with dirt bikes, ATVs in DC

For the first six hours of his shift as an Uber driver on Sunday, Javier Gutierrez of Rockville, Maryland, said, his time picking up and dropping off passengers around the D.C. area was like any other.

That all changed, he said, around 9 p.m., when he encountered a group of people riding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in the District.

Gutierrez said he encountered a group of riders in the area of H and 4th streets in Northeast, after he left the Union Market area to pick up a passenger. Gutierrez said that since he had a green light and they did not, he slowly tried to make his way through a clearing in the group. Once in the intersection, he said, one of the bikes hit the front of his car, after which the riders turned their attention to him.

“I instantly panicked and started driving away,” Gutierrez said.

That began a scary several minutes, he said, as riders chased him through the city. He broke some road rules in order to get away from the group.

“I was speeding through residential streets; I was running traffic lights; I was running stop signs. I tried to get as far away as I could from them,” Gutierrez said.

Several minutes after the chase began, Gutierrez said, he saw one of the riders take out a gun.

“They fired several shots and a couple of those shots made it into my car,” he said.

After the shots were fired, he said, he focused on getting away. Several minutes later, the dirt bikes and ATVs disappeared.

“I was afraid for my life. So that’s why I decided to speed away. I was like, if I stop, you know, they’re gonna end up killing me. So I didn’t want to die,” Gutierrez said.

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE: A bullet hole is seen in the back of Javier Gutierrez’s car. (Courtesy Javier Guiterrez)

In the area of the Marine Barracks in Southeast, he encountered several Marines who he said helped him call 911. It was there he also noticed two bullet holes in the back of his car.

D.C. police said officers responded to that call and found two bullet holes in Gutierrez’s car. A police spokesman said they were investigating an altercation between Gutierrez and someone on a four-wheeler.

According to a police report, detectives are looking into assault with a dangerous weapon and destruction of property. So far, there are no details on possible suspects in the case.

Still rattled by what took place, Gutierrez said he will now look at another line of work.

“I decided it was no longer worth it to drive for Uber; I’m just going to look for another job that doesn’t involve — you know, dangerous situations,” he said.

Gutierrez is urging people along H and 4th streets Northeast and in neighborhoods between Union Market and the Marine Barracks to check security cameras for any video of the incident, and give what they have to police.

Anyone who saw what happened should call police at 202-727-9099.

In neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland, the council is discussing legislation that would crack down on the illegal use of off-road vehicles.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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