Uber under attack by hammer victim and cabbies

Carolyn Tyler Image
ByCarolyn Tyler KGO logo
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Uber under fire on two fronts
A man attacked with a hammer by an Uber driver is considering a legal suit.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Wednesday, San Francisco-based Uber found itself under attack on two fronts -- from a passenger who says he was badly injured and from traditional cabbies who say the company is not playing by the rules. As bad as Roberto Chicas looks now, he was in worse shape last month.

Face fractured, in and out of consciousness. Authorities say an Uber driver viciously attacked him with a hammer after he and his friends questioned the route he was taking.

"Using Uber at the end of the night is supposed to be the responsible and safe thing to do to get home safely, and to do that and wake up in the ICU is something I hope no one has to go through," said victim Roberto Chicas.

The 35-year-old now worries he may lose his left eye.

In a statement Uber says this was a deplorable incident. Uber's insurance provider is in contact with representatives of both the rider and the driver.

But Chicas' attorney says Uber has been playing a shell game trying to avoid liability.

"The basic legal premise is very simple, and that's you can't offer this kind of service out in the marketplace, reap all the benefits and profits and not take responsibility," said attorney Harry Stern.

Traditional cab drivers staged a noisy protest against what they call Uber's deceptive business practices.

"Their background checks are not what taxi drivers have so when something like this happens, we don't know if it could be prevented because there's no oversight," said taxi driver Mark Gruber.

Uber says safety is their number one priority, but the District Attorney George Gascon has put the ride service companies on notice, citing safety concerns. He has also charged the Uber driver in connection with the attack on Roberto Chicas.