Talk about an uber-wild ride.
A New York man is claiming an Uber driver in D.C. kidnapped him and some co-workers Monday afternoon. (Via WRC-TV)
Ryan Simonetti's frantic tweet from after the ordeal pretty much says it all — "Was 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, CEO of New York-based Convene, told The Washington Post he and two colleagues were in the city on business and were heading to the company's new office in the area Monday afternoon.
Being a self-described "diehard Uber fan," Simonetti decided to request a car from the popular car service app to come pick them up. (Via YouTube / habavonc)
WRC-TV reports, when the car arrived, Simonetti says there was a D.C. Taxi Inspector talking with the driver. The three men didn't think too much of it and got in, and the inspector walked away. And that's when the trip took a turn for the worse.
Simonetti told police once the driver drove off — well above the speed limit, the inspector turned on his lights and followed them. But the driver showed no signs of stopping or slowing down, despite the riders' calls to stop.
Simonetti told The Washington Post, "It was like an episode of 'Cops.' We’ve all seen the ‘Cops’ episode. This only ends two ways. Either the car crashes or the guy jumps out and runs. And he had plenty of opportunities to slow down and jump out and run, and he wasn’t doing that."
The chase reportedly lasted about 10 minutes, during which the driver narrowly missed hitting multiple cars.
The taxi inspector finally forced the car to pull over on an exit ramp once they crossed into Virginia. Simonetti says the inspector stayed with him and his co-workers until they took a regular taxi back to their office. (Via Google Maps)
Police say the inspector was initially observing the driver to make sure the pickup was done legally through the app and not as a street hail, which is illegal in the District. (Via YouTube / Julie Espinosa)
As it turns out, close monitoring like this isn't all that surprising in the Metro D.C. area.
Back in June, the state of Virginia slapped both Uber and Lyft, another ride-sharing company, with cease and desist orders because they apparently operate as unlicensed cab companies. (Via WUSA)
But both companies are working to become legal in the area. According to the Daily Press, Virginia's DMV confirmed last week Uber and Lyft have applied for brokers' licenses to operate in Virginia.
They initially resisted doing so because they claimed their services shouldn't fall under the same regulations imposed on normal cab and car services. (Via Getty Images)
As for Uber's latest woe, the company released a statement Tuesday saying it will cooperate with authorities in their investigation into the wild car chase. The driver has been deactivated pending the outcome.