POMONA, CA – A truck driver who helped put a stop to a police pursuit of a person of interest in a murder investigation back in April wound up having his semi damaged through the fast-acting intervention.
And now this driver who ostensibly did the right thing from a moral perspective is being denied coverage by his insurance for the damages to his semi.
The driver says he doesn't have any regrets, even though the insurance company left him to cover the $22,000 in damages out of his own pocket. https://t.co/URZ7yirGzc
— WIBW (@wibw) May 17, 2021
On April 6th, Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies were pursuing a driver that was believed at the time to be a person of interest in an active murder investigation.
This driver wound up leading deputies to northern San Diego County, then back into the Inland Empire area, and eventually made it into the city of Pomona during the pursuit.
Truck driver Ahmed Shaaban happened to have been monitoring this pursuit while it was ongoing, and realized that the driver leading authorities on this pursuit was headed toward the intersection where he was in his big rig.
Without thinking that the suspect would actually crash into his semi, Shaaban pulled into the intersection to block the driver. However, the suspect wound up crashing right into the side of Shaaban’s truck.
In Shaaban’s perspective, he felt as though the driver leading that police pursuit needed to be stopped before they wound up hurting someone:
“I saw what happened and I took the decision to stop it, because if I didn’t, this person could have killed someone.”
Despite the damage done to his vehicle – which serves as his family’s source of income – Shaaban says he would do it all over again:
“Either way, I know I did the right thing. I don’t regret my decision.”
But this collision caused quite a bit of damage to the semi, to the tune of $22,000. When it came time to file an insurance claim, Shaaban said he was denied coverage from his insurer:
“I’m just kind of shocked from the reaction.”
Shaaban has been out of work due to the truck needing to be repaired before he can start running loads again, which has caused the bills to start piling up:
“It’s racking up on me really hard and really fast. I’m kind of stuck here.”
Back on April 6, Ahmed Shaaban drove his semi-truck into the path of a pursuit suspect, stopping the hours-long chase with a crash caught on camera. Now he says his insurance won't cover the cost of the claim for the damage https://t.co/1IZdR60hFO
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) May 15, 2021
Adriatic Insurance Company, which is the insurer that denied the claim, noted that the reason for denying the claim was due to the damage not being “the result of an accident, but clearly deliberate action.”
Shaaban’s wife established a GoFundMe to help cover the repair costs, which notes the following about her husband:
“Our lives are on hold now due to this incident, but Ahmed regrets nothing. God put him in the right place at the right time to be able to do what others weren’t. He just didn’t want anyone to get hurt. He truly is a hero like everyone is saying.”
As of May 21st, the GoFundMe has amassed over $90K.
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Back in December of 2020, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on another incident regarding an insurance debacle when Lyft had tried to have one of their driver’s pay a $2,500 deductible after the driver was carjacked by a Lyft rider.
Here’s that previous report.
CHICAGO, IL – A Lyft driver who was working within Chicago’s South Side back in November was violently assaulted, robbed and carjacked by the very passengers Lyft directed him to pick up.
And when it came time to file an insurance claim through Lyft’s policy – the company wanted the victim to cover $2,500 out of pocket due to the deductible present in the policy.
A South Side Lyft driver says his own passenger carjacked him, and the police later found his car wrecked. Then, thanks to Lyft's insurance policy, he was told to pay a $2,500 deductible to get reimbursed for the car. https://t.co/VGA0bz744M
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) December 29, 2020
Lyft driver James Durkin recently recounted the experience he had during an early morning in November when he accepted a fare where two riders wanted to be dropped off at 99th and Throop.
However, instead of a simple pick and drop-off like any other accepted fare, Durkin said he was beaten and robbed at gunpoint by the two passengers:
“Next thing I know I got a gun to my head…I get out. The other passenger gets out, hits me a couple times. If you ever had a gun put you, you know one wrong move, and it’s all over.”
The thieves then took off with Durkin’s car, wallet and phone – leaving him stranded in the middle of Chicago to wander around until he could find help. He eventually happened upon a CPD officer who drove him home that morning.
In the days following the armed robbery and carjacking, Durkin had received notification that someone had used his stolen credit card to order Uber Eats.
Outside of being robbed and attacked, Durkin was worried about his family’s safety since the carjackers had his identification which hosted his address:
“They got my driver’s license. My wife’s scared to death someone was going to show up at the house.”
Roughly a week later, police had located Durkin’s vehicle – however, Durkin said that the car was damaged and inoperable:
“Motor wouldn’t turn over. I knew it was a total loss.”
Considering the carjacking occurred while Durkin was acting as a Lyft driver, the claim was directed through Lyft’s insurance policy that is held through Progressive.
That’s when Durkin was offered under $10,000 to replace his stolen and wrecked vehicle – which that number was calculated by assessing the value of the vehicle and deducting $2,500 via the policy’s deductible.
@lyft If your a Lyft driver reconsider. The deductible if your in a car accident is $2500 before they will repair your vehicle even if its not your fault and you had passengers. Very disappointed. Lyft should be ashamed of this policy.
— Freedom Lives (@rubies222) March 16, 2018
While Durkin was cognizant that Lyft’s insurance policy hosted a high deductible, he thought that the company would’ve taken into account that the damage came from a passenger they directed him to pick up and not from any sort of negligent driving on his part:
“Even though I’m an independent contractor, I work off of what you give me. You gave me a bad ride, and you’re charging me $2,500.”
When Durkin first contacted Lyft about the dilemma regarding the high deductible and the circumstances surrounding it – Lyft sent him a $100 ride credit to accommodate any of his “transportation needs”.
Durkin took that “gift” offered by the company as insulting rather than some sort of gracious act:
“One hundred dollars for almost losing my life for picking up somebody they gave me to? Not too good.”
Bryant Greening, an attorney with the Chicago-based firm LegalRideshare, said he’s heard many stories similar to Durkin’s regarding companies like Lyft having ridiculously high insurance deductibles:
“With Lyft it’s $2,500, which is the highest I have seen in any policy.”
While Greening can rationalize why companies like Lyft would instill some level of deductible – likely to stem frivolous claims – he stated that Lyft’s deductible amount is simply too high:
“I would imagine that they keep the deductible so high, so they don’t have to pay out on every little claim that comes through. But $2,500 is too high for anybody to swallow.”
It wasn’t until local news outlet CBS 2 had reached out to Lyft that the company decided that Durkin shouldn’t have to bear the $2,500 cost associated with the armed carjacking he endured due to one of their rider account holders.
However, Lyft is only doing it in this case and the deductible still stands for every other driver for the company.
Police have followed up with Durkin on the case, but he’s yet to hear of any arrests related to the November incident.
A spokesperson with Lyft confirmed that they’re cooperating with police on the investigation:
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is deeply disturbing. We have been in communication with the driver and continue to offer our support and assistance. We deactivated the rider’s account and have been in contact with law enforcement regarding any investigation.”
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