Jul 10 2014, 8:51am CDT | by Ahmed Humayun
For the CEO of New York-based Convene, Ryan Simonetti, Tuesday was a day he wouldn’t be forgetting all too soon. It was an Uber ride which was the highlight of his day and something he had never experienced before and never will again. The D.C. Taxicab Commission is currently looking into this matter in detail and Uber has also confirmed that the taxi driver is no longer with the company.
So this is how the story rolled up after 1:15 p.m. on Monday when Simonetti and two colleagues were done with their meetings and decided to take an Uber car from 7th and F Streets Northwest to the company’s new offices in Tysons Corner. Apparently, Simonetti is a huge Uber fan and we are pretty sure things have changed for him after this incident. He says “I use Uber everywhere I go. I travel all over the country, wherever I go I use Uber. I’m a diehard Uber fan.” Anyway, moving on, as they reached the taxi, they noticed a D.C. taxi inspector talking to the driver and not making a great deal out of it, they sat in the Uber car.
Simonetti got into the front seat and his colleagues got into the back seat. The inspector had only gone back to his car to check up on the papers provided by the taxi driver who just started driving down the street. Just as expected, the inspector turned his lights on and started to follow.
When Simonetti asked the driver “That cop’s following you. What’s going on?” He only assured Simonetti not to worry and said “Oh no, he’s not a real cop.” And then Simonetti said the driver then told them: “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to run this red light.”
The driver headed for the 9th Street tunnel and then went on to I-395 before racing on to the highway. The taxi driver was going “well above the speed limit”.
“It was like an episode of ‘Cops,’” Simonetti said. “We’ve all seen the ‘Cops’ episode. This only ends two ways. Either the car crashes or the guy jumps out and runs. And he had plenty of opportunities to slow down and jump out and run, and he wasn’t doing that.” According to Simonetti, they drove for 10 minutes straight at this speed and throughout this time, he and his colleagues kept yelling at the driver and even asked him to slow down the car so they could jump out. But he wouldn’t risk it because he said he would end up with a $2000 fine.
“It was insane,” Simonetti said. “I physically tried to force his leg to hit the brake. I ripped off his pant leg … I said, ‘Here’s two options. You take this exit, or I’m going to knock the side of your head in. If we crash, we crash, but you’re gonna kill us anyway.’”
After this the driver pulled onto the exit ramp and the inspector pulled ahead of the Uber car so the driver wouldn’t escape. But that didn’t quite helped because as soon as the three passengers got out of the car, the driver turned back and went the wrong way up the exit ramp, into Virginia.
The inspector has currently filed a report and the D.C. Taxicab Commission is going to look into the incident and interview everyone involved soon.
Thanks everyone for the concern. We're safe. @uber and law enforcement are dealing with it now.— Ryan W Simonetti (@rwsimonetti) July 8, 2014
Ahmed Humayun is a technology journalist bringing you the hottest tech stories of the day.
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