Melbourne woman attacks Uber driver when he refuses to drive through unsafe area, police say

MELBOURNE, Fla. — A Melbourne woman is facing charges after police said she attacked an Uber driver because he wouldn’t drive through a dangerous neighborhood.

Police said Robert Russ, 67, picked up Lamishia West, 25, on the 3400 block of Saxon Street.

As they traveled on Lipscomb Street toward Church Street, Russ pulled the vehicle over and said he could not go any further because the area makes him uncomfortable, according to a police report.

Russ said he offered to go a longer route to avoid the unsafe area and also allowed her to terminate the ride.

Russ told police that West became combative and argumentative and demanded he finished the ride. When Russ refused, West allegedly began to punch and scratch Russ in the face, police said.

Russ began to yell “call 911” hoping his voice-activation software would help him. Meanwhile, West continued to attack Russ, leaving a laceration on his left cheek.

Russ told police that when she calmed down, she continued to demand a ride home. That’s when Russ grabbed his cellphone to call 911, but said West grabbed his hand, preventing him from dialing.

Eventually West got out of the car and Russ was able to drive away and call police.

According to the report, West claimed that Russ tried to force her out of the vehicle and she was only attempting to hold on, fearing she would fall out of the car.

But police said the audio recording from Russ’ phone was more consistent with his story.

Police said when West was arrested she asked why and was told there was an audio recording supporting Russ’ version of what happened. Police said when she was told it was just audio, West changed her statement to say that she never struck Russ.

West is facing one charge of battery on a person over the age of 65.

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