New York City Attack Suspect Was an Uber Driver, Passed Background Check

Nov 1, 2017

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The suspect who drove a pickup truck down a crowded bike path in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, killing eight people and injuring 11, was an Uber driver. According to CNN, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov began driving for the popular ride-sharing service Uber in New Jersey just over six months ago.

“We are aggressively and quickly reviewing this partner’s history with Uber, and at this time we have not identified any related concerning safety reports,” said an Uber official. The company said that it hasn’t yet identified any rider-submitted complaints about his driving.

Uber said that it’s in contact with the FBI and working with the agency to offer assistance in the investigation. Since the incident on Tuesday afternoon, the Uzbekistan native, who is expected to survive after being shot by police at the scene, has been banned from the platform.

The ride-share company said that Saipov passed a background check in order to be able to drive in Paterson, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas. However, records indicate that Saipov received multiple traffic citations in the past, such as in 2015, when he was charged with failing to equip a motor vehicle carrier with or maintain a required brake system in Platte, Missouri. He missed his court appearance in 2016 and the court entered a guilty plea for him.

The incident has raised questions about Uber’s background check process. New Jersey state law requires that potential drivers of all ride-share services must complete a criminal background check. The background check process is usually contracted out to third-party companies, and a conviction for something like reckless driving automatically rules out the applicant. Aside from convictions like reckless driving, it’s unclear what Uber looks for in its driver background checks.

Saipov drove a rented pickup truck down a bike path on Manhattan’s West Side before being shot by a police officer. Officials are calling the incident the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since September 11, 2001.

This isn’t the first time an Uber driver has been linked to a crime. In 2016, a man killed six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in between picking up and dropping off passengers for Uber.

Featured image by Anadolu Agency / Getty Images.

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