Passenger says Lyft driver refused to drop her off, captures ride on video

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WASHINGTON — A Lyft customer says she was trapped in the back seat, when her driver refused to drop her off.

Desiree Taylor and a friend arranged to be picked up Wednesday night in downtown D.C. by the smartphone-based ride sharing service.

Taylor says they asked the driver to drop off her friend along the way, but he refused. The friend got out of the car.

Taylor told the driver she intended to write a bad review for the driver.

“He made a violent U-turn and went the opposite direction of my house,” she told WJLA.

When the driver didn’t verbally respond, Taylor grabbed her phone and started recording video from the back seat.

“The door is open, because he won’t stop,” Taylor says on the video, as she pans to show the open car door and parked vehicles zooming by.

The ride continued in a direction away from her home, as Taylor’s concern seemed to escalate.

“This is the Lyft driver that you don’t want, because this Lyft driver is taking me somewhere else, I have no idea where he’s taking me,” she says on the video, which was obtained by NBC Washington.

Eventually she jumped out at a stop sign. She admitted kicking the car in frustration to WJLA.

NBC Washington went to the home of the driver to ask why he didn’t immediately stop.

“Because she had the door open, and we were near parked cars,” the driver said. “I didn’t want to damage my car, so I pulled to a safe location.”

Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra Lamanna issued a statement to News 4.

“We are extremely troubled to learn about this incident. We have a strict zero-tolerance police and any behavior threatening the safety of a Lyft community member is not tolerated. The driver’s conduct was absolutely unacceptable, and his access to Lyft has been permanently removed.”

Taylor called 911 and Lyft. Metropolitan police officers responded, listened to her account and reviewed her video, but concluded the driver’s actions weren’t criminal, she told WJLA.

Taylor says she wants to file charges, and is considering legal action.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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