Closings & Delays

Police: Intoxicated woman strangles Uber driver, kicks his door causing $3,000 worth of damage

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- There have been multiple reports about the safety of people who use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

However, what happens when the drivers are put into a dangerous situation?

A driver found himself in just that earlier this month.

Police say, thankfully, the driver is okay, but things could've turned deadly when a woman reached from behind the seat and strangled the driver with her hands and his seatbelt.

One former Uber driver says just about anything can happen when passengers close the door.

"It gets really dangerous in the night time," said Lois Tamayo of Lancaster County.

Things turned dangerous for another driver on Harrisburg Pike in Manheim Township.

Police say Tonya Le, 41, of West Hempfield Township reached around the seat and began choking him on her ride home.

"She also then released and then grabbed onto his seatbelt and was using his seatbelt to then put around his neck and try to choke him from that as well," explained Sergeant Michael Piacentino with Manheim Township Police.

Sergeant Piacentino says the woman then laid down in the back seat and started kicking the rear driver's side door; that move caused about $3,000 worth of damage to the door.

Authorities say the driver managed to pull over and get out of the car.

"When the driver exited the vehicle so did the passenger," added Piacentino. "The passenger was intoxicated and was having trouble walking, starting stumbling in the street and the driver was protecting her, keeping her from going into the travel lane."

"I am not impressed with that story because something similar happened to me but in the other way; she was trying to do something with me sexually," explained Tamayo.

Tamayo drove with Uber for a year and a half. In that time, he says strange incidents like this one happened all too often.

"I got many stories, many stories - drunk people, crazy people, people who use uber to buy drugs," added Tamayo.

According to police, the driver taking Le home did the right thing by not fighting back and pulling over as soon as he could.

There's just one big question now: Why?

"It came out of nowhere," explained Piacentino. "There was no conversation that would've prompted her to become upset."

Le is facing a number of charges including strangulation, recklessly endangering another person, and harassment, among others.

FOX43 reached out to Uber for comment but have not yet heard back, but here is how it says drivers and passengers can stay safe on their rides.

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