City officials are holding Lyft responsible after one of their drivers karate kicked a taxi driver, causing his death. The driver, Fangqi Lu, had previously been “deactivated” after punching one of his own customers in the face. The same driver then picked up a job driving for Uber weeks later during which he committed the fatal assault against Anis Tungekar.
In this case, city officials are slapping Lyft with a fine for failing to disclose to authorities that one of their drivers committed an assault against a passenger. They are further alleging that had Lyft reported the crime to city officials, it would have prevented the death of Tungekar.
The city’s early warning system is aimed at weeding out violent drivers, but Lyft faces significant liability issues in an assault case. Lyft may have been attempting to avoid a hefty payout by failing to report the incident. Now, Lyft may face one lawsuit for the assault and another one for wrongful death.
Violent Driver Punches Attorney
The man who Lu is accused of punching is Chicago attorney Scott Gore. According to Gore, he suffered a bruised ear in the incident. Gore was headed to Wrigley Field and asked Lu if he could be dropped off just short of the destination. This request then sparked an argument. According to Gore, Lu asked him if he wanted to fight and Gore replied by telling Lu that if he did, he would sue him. Lu hit him anyway. Shortly thereafter, Gore reported the incident to Lyft which discharged the driver but did not report the incident to local authorities.
Lu immediately picked up a job with Uber. Two weeks after his official discharge, Lu became angry with Tungekar who he says was double-parked on West Madison Street. Lu allegedly struck Tungekar’s side mirror through his window (with his fist). Surveillance shows Tungekar following Lu and confronting him. Tungekar turned away from Lu and was going back to his car. Lu exited his vehicle and kicked Tungekar in the head. Tungekar dropped immediately and his head struck the pavement.
Lu was held in police custody for two days. Afterward, he fled to China to avoid charges. By the time first-degree murder charges had been filed against Lu, he was long gone. This was despite the fact that there was clear video evidence showing that Tungekar was de-escalating the situation by returning to his own vehicle when Lu struck the fatal blow.
Now that Lu is back in China and unlikely to return to the U.S., the Tungekar family is unlikely to receive justice from the Chicago criminal justice system. However, they do have a very compelling wrongful death lawsuit against Lyft should they choose to pursue it.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, call David Freidberg, Attorney at Law at (312) 560-7100 early in the process to set up an appointment.
(image courtesy of Max Bender)