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Dwight Taylor and passengers in happier times

Uber driver stands off against carjacker

Contributed By:The 411 News

Dwight Taylor: I know I'm an ex-Uber driver now

While nine-to-fivers use Saturday afternoons to catch up on housekeeping or a nap, workers in the gig economy are laboring night and day to bring home the bacon. Call them freelancers. They don’t get employee perks like medical benefits, vacations or time-off.

One of the poster boys for those flex-time workers is the Uber driver, who comes when called, like Dwight Taylor.

His matter of fact posting on Facebook gave a glimpse of Saturday’s workday.

Taylor posted, “This evening around 4:00 p.m., I picked up a young black man in Merrillville, Indiana who wanted to go to Chicago. I drive for Uber. Just as he entered my vehicle, his destination changed.

“He then asked me to take him to a different destination in Merrillville. Just as I arrived at that destination, he pulled a gun on me and attempted to take my vehicle. In the process of that attempt, I managed to exit my vehicle and pull out my gun. Just as I did, he jumped out of my vehicle with a gun in his hand.

“I then kneeled beside the rear of my vehicle and fired at him three times just as he started to run away with a gun in his hand. It is a strong possibility he was hit. I talk about these things all the time.”

Taylor said he hasn’t heard from Uber yet. “I know I’m an ex-Uber driver now. They’ll have the police report soon and see I had a gun. They don’t allow their drivers to carry weapons.”

In an article on the incident, the NWI Times reported, “Merrillville police searched the area in the vicinity of the 6900 block of Van Buren and canvassed local hospitals” without locating the suspect. Police were also working to contact Uber representatives to track down more information.

Tracking the suspect could be difficult. “Anybody can buy a gift card and load it with money. Then use it to purchase an Uber ride.” Police have the name of the person who requested the Uber ride, Taylor said, but there are no records on him.

And even the pickup address in Merrillville may not furnish a definite lead. “I went to the address on my Uber app, but the passenger approached me walking from several houses away,” Taylor said. He backed the car up. The young man asked, “Are you the Uber ride?”

“After the passenger pulled the gun, he reached into the front and tried to take the ignition keys. But he put the gun down and that’s when I got out of the car, pulled my gun and pointed it at him.” Taylor said the young man cried out, “Don’t shoot me.”

The passenger left the vehicle’s back seat, with his gun in hand, Taylor said. “I fired at him 3 times. He ran and hid behind a truck.” The driver said, “I also fell, injuring my knee and shoulder. I thought the gunman was going to come back and shoot me.”

“It’s time to give it up. Those pennies I make are not enough to keep up with the maintenance on my car,” Taylor said. He’s been an Uber driver for just a year.

Dwight Taylor with Uber passengers in happier times

Story Posted:01/07/2018

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