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70-year-old Uber driver brutally beaten by passenger in Los Angeles

In World
April 22, 2024

An Uber driver from Southern California is looking to spread the word on the potential risks associated with being a rideshare driver after he was violently assaulted by a passenger over the weekend.

The driver, 70-year-old Peter McNulty, told KTLA that he comes to the L.A. area from his home in the Antelope Valley on the weekends since there is a higher concentration of riders.

It was business as usual on Saturday night and early Sunday morning as he picked up a man who had requested a ride on Lankershim Boulevard around 12:45 a.m. Sunday.

“He was very adamant about the address that he was going to and how quickly he needed to be there,” McNulty said.

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The passenger’s destination, McNulty claimed, was the corner of La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. When they arrived there shortly after 1 a.m., McNulty told the man that they had reached his stop.

“He said ‘No, I have to go to this address,’ and I said ‘No, this is where we are’,” he said. “This went on for about four to five minutes until finally, he just sat there looking at his phone.”

McNulty then put the car in park, shut the engine off and exited the vehicle to let the passenger out. He told the passenger that he needed to get out, that it was late and that he had another rider to pick up.

That’s when things got violent.

“He came out of the car swinging [and] instantly, he was on me,” McNulty recounted. “We grappled and went down to the ground…we rolled around on the ground for at least four to five minutes.”

  • Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

    Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

  • Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

    Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

  • Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

    Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

  • Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

    Uber driver Peter McNulty, 70, was brutally beaten by a passenger on April 21, 2024. (Peter McNulty)

A group of 10 to 12 people gathered to watch the altercation, the shaken rideshare driver said, adding that the group “thought [he and the passenger he was fighting] were entertainment” and that none of them called police.

The altercation ended after five more minutes, said McNulty, who is diagnosed with COPD. Once he was able to gather himself — and after he found his tooth on the ground — he called Uber to report the incident and then called 911.

He then waited nearly 15 minutes for a police officer to show up to his location “in the heart of Hollywood,” he elaborated, which only stressed him out more.

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He eventually drove to the San Fernando Valley, where he let his girlfriend know what happened and attempted to go to a police station, only to find that it was closed. He said he was left with no choice but to flag down an officer in a patrol vehicle — who happened to be on their way to jail with a suspect in custody — in order to file a police report.

The Uber driver suffered a broken tooth, several facial injuries and lacerations to his forearm, and while he says he is alright, he is more worried about the safety of other rideshare drivers in Los Angeles and beyond.

“It’s getting crazier and crazier out there,” he said. “This would have happened to whoever picked this guy up, so I guess in some way, I was lucky I was able to handle the situation. Be prepared wherever you are at all times, because you can’t expect help…if something goes bad, you’ve got to handle that situation yourself.”

“This isn’t just going on in L.A., it’s happening everywhere,” he added.

McNulty described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his mid-to-late 20s. No official suspect description has been released by authorities.

Alexis Lewis and Dave Lopez contributed to this report.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.

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