SoCal Lyft driver left bloodied after vicious attack by passenger

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Thursday, August 12, 2021
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A Lyft driver says he was left bruised and bloodied after he was viciously attacked by a passenger in Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Lyft driver says he was left bruised and bloodied after he was viciously attacked by a passenger in Riverside.

Ye Lu says the attack happened around 5:20 a.m. Aug. 1 when he picked up the passenger, identified by authorities as 23-year-old Michael Trunko.

Lu says Trunko wanted to load up the backseat with his DJ equipment, which Lu said he couldn't do. Lu explained to Trunko he could only bring whatever would fit inside the car's trunk.

In audio captured from Lu's dashcam, the passenger can be heard saying "If I can't use the backseat you're going to get fired."

RELATED: Suspect arrested in connection with robbery, pistol-whipping of Lyft driver in South El Monte

Lu says that's when Trunko starts beating him and his car with a metal microphone stand and that he was hit in the head at least two or three times. He was able to escape the attack by driving away and called 911 for help.

"Someone attacked me!" Lu says to the dispatcher.

"I think I will die!" he says repeatedly on the phone, explaining that his head is bleeding.

Trunko was arrested a short time later by Jurupa Valley police at a Riverside bar and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center, according to booking information. He has bailed out and has a court date set for Dec. 20, when he will face felony robbery, assault and vandalism charges.

Lu told Eyewitness News he's been working as a ride-share driver for almost five years and never thought getting assaulted during a ride would happen to him.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Lu pay for his extensive medical bills and damage to his car.

Lu is also finding support online from gig worker advocate Torsten Kunert, who posted Lu's dashcam video to his YouTube channel Rideshare Professor.

"The companies are trying to figure out why drivers are leaving, because they're not spending any money on safety and they're not paying the drivers," Kunert said.