Uber Driver Dies At The Wheel, Passengers Bail Before Car Wrecks

Illustration for article titled Uber Driver Dies At The Wheel, Passengers Bail Before Car Wrecks

This past Friday, Jayson W (he requested his last name be removed) and his wife were heading to Chicago’s Spring Awakening Music Festival in an Uber when their driver began to convulse. Things got worse from there, as the incapacitated driver slumped onto the accelerator pedal, sending the car crashing into another car about a block away.

The couple in the Uber bailed from the car into traffic, a move that at least one police officer took issue with. Jayson W reached out to us about the incident, and described what happened like this:

We were on our way to Spring Awakening (wife dressed in Spring Awakening attire….) from Oak Park to 15th/Ashland in Chicago. Talking to the guy normally for almost the entire time. We stopped at a light at roughly 13th/Ashland (traffic was very thick near the concert). My wife noticed he was hunched over. I leaned over to see what was happening and he was convulsing. The car started to accelerator (like his foot slipped from the break to the gas or something). At this point my wife opened the car door when it was moving 10ish mph and hopped out in the middle of traffic, she also grabbed my arm and pulled me out too. It continued to speed away, almost hit the traffic control cop, and went another block or so and crashed into another Uber (carrying 4 or so people). We walked down the block to catch up to the crash. Cops were just surrounding the car while the guy just sat in the seat. I told them that he was convulsing before the crash. They just kept poking him telling him to wake up (he was turning a different color). The paramedics showed up, did chest compressions then did the electric shock. He laid there until they put him on the gurney and put him in the ambulance (it stayed there for 10-15 minutes).

His name was Timothy. He was married and had (if I remember correctly) 4 kids.

This is, of course, tragic. The impulse to exit the moving, uncontrolled car is understandable, though one police officer I spoke with stated that getting out of a moving vehicle like that is “completely insane.”


This is not in any way the official position of the Chicago Police Department, but this officer felt that in such a situation a much better course of action would be to remain in the car and attempt to turn off the car, get it out of gear, pull an emergency brake, or do whatever possible to stop the vehicle.

Uber, for their part, told Jayson W that “that they wouldn’t be charging me for my ride because of the service I received.”

It’s a miserable situation all around.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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His Stigness

I know hindsight is 20/20, but that seems pretty fucked up to just bail and not try to help the guy. If the car is barely moving in heavy traffic then you should have plenty of time to reach up and pull the parking brake, or put the car in neutral, or turn the damn thing off.

But hey, it’s not about helping other people, it’s about saving your own ass.