Ex-Uber Driver Hit With Manslaughter Charge in Child's Death

Company faces new bans in Thailand, Spain
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 12:07 PM CST
Ex-Uber Driver Hit With Manslaughter Charge in Child's Death
For-hire cab drivers hold up photos of Sofia, 6, who was killed by an Uber driver in San Francisco, during a rally for ride-sharing services in Seattle, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)

A former Uber driver has been charged with manslaughter after a crash that killed a six-year-old pedestrian last year. Authorities say Syed Muzaffar hit the girl, her brother, and her mother while they crossed at a crosswalk in San Francisco, the Chronicle reports. A lawsuit filed early this year pointed to distracted driving on Muzaffar's part, saying he was waiting for a ride request on Uber's app. The company, which was also named in the suit, says Muzaffar wasn't dealing with a fare at the moment of the crash and shouldn't have been looking at his phone.

Driving an SUV, Muzaffar was turning right at a green light when the crash occurred, officials say. He has been charged with misdemeanor, rather than felony, manslaughter because prosecutors didn't see evidence of gross negligence—such as driving under the influence, the Chronicle notes. The charges are the latest in a string of problems for Uber, which was banned by judges in Spain and Thailand today amid concerns over the authorization of drivers, the Local and Al Jazeera America report. This weekend, a New York Times op-ed attacked the company's data-collection policies; it's currently facing a lawsuit from the city of Portland, Oregon; and it's been banned in Delhi after a driver allegedly raped a passenger. (More Uber stories.)

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