An Uber ride turns into a wild chase through the streets of D.C., and a businessman tweeted about it as he was strapped in the passenger seat. Chris Gordon pieces together exactly what happened.
It was a scary ride for a New York man who says an Uber driver in Washington, D.C., kidnapped him and his co-workers Tuesday afternoon.
Ryan Simonetti and two colleagues were planning to take an Uber from 7th and F streets NW to Simonetti's company's new offices in Tysons Corner Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
But at some point during the ride, things took a strange turn. The driver was being followed by a D.C. taxi inspector, police say, as the Uber car traveled above the speed limit and narrowly missed other cars.
"[W]as just kidnapped by an uber driver in DC, held against my will and involved in a high speed chase across state lines with police #crazy," Simonetti tweeted.
News4 reporter Chris Gordon spoke with the chairman of the D.C. Taxi Commission Rob Linton Thursday. Before the ride began, Linton says the inspector asked the Uber driver if the pickup was through the app and not as a street hail, which is illegal in the District.
"The driver jumped back in the car and took off," Linton said.
Simonetti declined NBCWashington's request for interview, but did release a statement.
"My purpose in issuing this statement is to try and put behind us the unfortunate incident that my colleagues and myself experienced this week," he said. "We experienced an unfortunate and dangerous incident with an Uber driver and we are very grateful that we emerged from this experience safely, but quite shaken."
Uber issued the following statement on the incident, "Uber became aware of a potential incident involving an UberBLACK trip in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Rider safety is our #1 priority. We will cooperate with authorities in their investigation and have deactivated the driver pending the outcome."
Simonetti said in his statement that the incident was under investigation by "the proper authorities" and that actions had been taken by Uber against the driver.
"[We] have been told the Uber driver involved has been deactivated by the company," he said.
He also expressed sympathy with Uber's situation.
"As the co-founder and CEO of a company which has a similar growth trajectory to Uber, I am mindful of the challenges that rapid expansion can bring ," he said in his statement.
According to the Post, Simonetti said the taxi inspector tried to radio for help from other agencies, but no one came because it was during the city's 911 outage.
— Ryan W Simonetti (@rwsimonetti) July 8, 2014
Simonetti's statement also clarified that his tweet was simply to reach out to Uber and not to "embarrass or call attention to the company."
"I am a dedicated Uber user and believe they have a great business model," Simonetti said. "At the same time, I hope that Uber will learn something from this experience."