Uber driver identified as victim of brutal SF freeway attack

A driver is pummeled after more than a dozen men on dirt bikes surround his vehicle.

Steven Musil
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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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A cell phone video shows attackers beating a driver on a San Francisco freeway during Wednesday evening's commute.

A cell phone video shows attackers beating a driver on a San Francisco freeway during Wednesday evening's commute.


A man who was brutally attacked on a busy San Francisco highway on Wednesday has been identified as an Uber driver.

The 35-year-old man, identified by only his first name, Alex, was beaten after more than a dozen men on dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles surrounded his car on US Highway 101, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. When the men began vandalizing his car, the driver left the vehicle to confront them, which lead to the beating.

The driver was taken to a local hospital with a broken leg and non-life-threatening injuries.

The attack was captured on cell phone video by passing motorists, some of whom called 911 to report the attack.

Drivers for ride-hailing services have often been accused of attacking their passengers. They're sometimes victims of violence themselves, though, but usually those incidents originate inside the vehicle. Among the more serious incidents reported to police was the sexual assault of a female Uber driver by a male passenger last November in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.

It wasn't immediately known if the victim was driving for Uber at the time of the attack. Representatives for the San Francisco-based startup couldn't immediately confirm the victim was an Uber driver.

Some local media outlets identified the victim as a driver for Lyft, but a representative for that ride-hailing service said it couldn't confirm that information, saying it had received no reports of a driver being attacked Wednesday. A woman identified as the victim's sister told the Chronicle that her brother drove into San Francisco nearly every day from his home in the Central Valley city of Modesto to drive for Uber.

It appears the victim may have interrupted a "sideshow," a public gathering of drivers and spectators that often includes stunts such as doughnuts and "ghost riding." A representative for the California Highway Patrol told the Chronicle that witnesses had reported a group of motorcyclists slowing traffic -- a common tactic to create exhibition space on freeways -- and popping wheelies.

No arrests have been made in connection with the attack, a CHP representative told the newspaper.

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