Would-be Uber rider attacks driver, chokes him unconscious, causing crash, police say

A man getting into an Uber in Madison attacked the driver, causing a crash before the ride began Saturday, police said.

“(The driver) doesn’t really have a clue as to why this happened, and it was all in a very short amount of time. He pulled up, they got in, he was about to pull off, and he’s attacked,” said Joel Despain, spokesperson for the Madison Police Department.

Madison police said a 22-year-old Uber driver had stopped in the 1300 block of Regent Street at about 6 p.m. Saturday to pick up a fare: two women and a man.

According to police, the man who had just taken a seat behind the driver began to assault the driver. The Uber driver blacked out.

“(The driver) did go to the hospital to get checked out. He was having a little trouble swallowing and really showing some signs of strangulation, but fortunately he’s OK,” Despain said.

While unconscious, the driver accelerated, causing his van to jump a curb and hit a traffic sign, the report said. The three people who had just gotten in the van walked away.

The victim told police the would-be clients then canceled the ride, eliminating his record of the transaction.

A detective is trying to work with Uber to obtain the information, police said. The attacker was described by witnesses as white, 6 feet, 3 inches tall with a beard. He was wearing Wisconsin Badger gear.

Police asked anyone with information related to the incident to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

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