Lifestyle

Uber driver takes riders on high-speed chase, with taxi inspector in hot pursuit

Image Credit: Doug Kerr/Flickr

How would you like to be kidnapped in the back of an Uber car and taken on a high-speed chase through busy D.C. streets?

That’s the experience Ryan Simonetti, chief executive of Convene, claims he had Tuesday after ordering up a ride from popular car service Uber.

An Uber driver In Washington D.C. allegedly kept Simonetti and two friends imprisoned in his car throughout a wild 10-minute chase by a taxi inspector.

During the harrowing ordeal through the streets of D.C., the Uber driver nearly plowed into multiple cars in an attempt to evade the clutches of the taxi inspector, Simonetti claims. Simonetti says he ripped off the driver’s pant leg in a desperate bid to stop the mayhem, according to the Washington Post.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the details to the Post and, declining to name the driver, said the person had been terminated. A spokesperson for the Washington D.C. Taxicab Commission said it is investigating the incident. I put in emails and calls to both and hope to hear back. Simonetti tweeted this after the ordeal:

“Was just kidnapped by an driver in DC, held against my will, and involved in a high speed chase across state lines with police

And he told the Post Wednesday: “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.’”

The calamity began about 1:00 p.m. on Monday. Simonetti was in the area with two colleagues on a business trip. Using the Uber app, the trio vectored for a car near the city’s Verizon Center for a ride to Convene’s offices in the Tysons Corner neighborhood.

“I use Uber everywhere I go. I travel all over the country, wherever I go I use Uber. I’m a diehard Uber fan,” Simonetti told the Post.

Before the Uber driver pulled away from the curb, Simonetti noticed a taxi inspector on foot near the Uber car. The Uber driver then sped quickly away, and the inspector, with lights flashing, followed at a high rate of speed. The chase was on. Simonetti said the ordeal was straight from an episode of Cops.

After 10 minutes, the inspector managed to block the Uber ride with his own car, and Simonetti and his friends used the opportunity to flee. The Uber driver turned around and headed up an off-ramp going the wrong way. The driver then fled in the direction of Virginia.

Neville Waters, a spokesman for the D.C. Taxicab Commission, confirmed Tuesday’s incident and said there’s now an investigation underway. A spokesperson for Uber told the Post the driver had been “de-activated” pending an internal investigation.

“Rider safety is our number one priority,” the spokesperson said.

Simonetti, who originally hails from New Jersey, openly questioned whether Uber drivers were being properly vetted.

More information:

Uber Technologies Inc is known as Everyone's Private Driver. Uber operates an on-demand car service used all over the world. With the touch of a button from your phone, you can experience your own private driver. Sign-up quickly, g... read more »

Powered by VBProfiles

49 comments
Matthew Ford
Matthew Ford

My uber got pulled over by the police and I was charged for the wait time

Robert Muller
Robert Muller

Uber is still LEAPS above any taxi I have ever taken.

Laugh Tiger
Laugh Tiger

 And you thought illegal behavior was only for CEOs?


A company with a blatant disregard for public safety breeds the same behavior among its employees.


Well, the driver was "terminated" -- and is now probably driving for Lyft...

Zachary Lambert
Zachary Lambert

If you can reach the driver's leg, why not turn off the car with the key or shift it into neutral?

James McGee
James McGee

There should have been a mob chasing down the taxi inspector!

Fabio Rivera Nunez
Fabio Rivera Nunez

Here is the real reason that this happened, the high overhead of insurance, licensing, fines, maintenance, gas, etc. Taxi inspector is protecting insurance company profits, drivers are forced to get sky high commercial taxi insurance.

Eric Tseng
Eric Tseng

Funny that This came from a company that valued at "billions" dollars. And ppl were so hype about über

Trenten Mervine
Trenten Mervine

Taxi Inspector - one who is hired because the taxi business is afraid for it's life

Lori Kober
Lori Kober

Why would an uber driver give two shits about a Taxi Inspector

Joe Ward
Joe Ward

5 ***** 'Uber Chase" Here we come .. Can't wait

Scott Corso
Scott Corso

Lolol Vanco Djuric, David Andresen, Maureen Corey Smith and whoever else was gonna use this taxi!

Mary Smith
Mary Smith

Love Uber. I'm betting this is not the whole story.

Iris Freund
Iris Freund

Que bizarro Ronaldo Porto!!! Agora veja você... O cara continua um fã incodicional da Uber rsrs

Hugh Whitehill
Hugh Whitehill

You guys bang on a lot about Uber and their problems.

Steven Sheffield
Steven Sheffield

Nicholas Brown - and you thought riding in Atlanta was an adventure

Phill Sly
Phill Sly

Was the passenger charged surge pricing for this? (Not really sure why VB is covering this...)

Andrew Stover
Andrew Stover

In the police state, there is no such thing as "too extreme".

Drea Weilbacher
Drea Weilbacher

"As they approached their Uber car, they spotted a D.C. taxi inspector talking to the driver." His man claims, “I use Uber everywhere I go. I travel all over the country, wherever I go I use Uber. I’m a diehard Uber fan". So the only time there was a problem was when there was an "inspector" involved. That doesn't ring any bells for anyone? Really?

Yannick Boucher
Yannick Boucher

Oh right, taxis were originally all 'Ubers' and then the laws and regulations came into effect to avoid things going sideways like this. Oh gee, how innovative that we'd go through all that all over again.

Freddy Moldt
Freddy Moldt

I think its more odd that a taxi inspector chases someone to this extreme

Prateek Gupta
Prateek Gupta

Great. Uber should raise another trillion dollars to fix these holes or put icing on shit like this. Everyone will be happy.

Mike Sung
Mike Sung

perhaps the uber driver simply failed to explain the new service feature...

Ronnie M
Ronnie M

Are we really surprised? Lol

J L
J L

@Laugh Tiger What the hell do taxi companies do differently? Some of this stuff looks suspicious of taxi companies hiring people to do illegal things as Uber drivers, not saying that's what's going on, just there's not much a difference in the company's methods of safety, but it only (or mostly) happens with Uber, not even Lyft