Musings: A Horrific Crime

So, as some of you know, I was driving for Uber and Lyft part-time during the Year of Sean. After I got a real job, my original intention was to continue driving because it was a rich trove of stories. During nine months, I gave over 1,500 rides to a wide variety of people including a Trump advisor, a professional athlete, a transgender prostitute, a guy who’d just found out he was dying, a gold digger, a sick kid, drunks, strippers, a lot of nice people, a few assholes, and one or two people who gave off a dangerous vibe. Most of my stories were funny, but some had serious moments.

I mostly drove at night and there was always that tiny voice in the back of my head that told me that something bad could happen — I mean, I am the guy that got taken on a memorable ride by a reputed Crip. But I always assumed I could handle most anything that cropped up. I worried more about a drunk throwing up in my car (it happened twice, but luckily I threw them plastic bags), or accidentally being shot by one of them.

Anyway, this past week, a young man suddenly and savagely attacked a Lyft driver, a 39-year-old mother of two named Kristina Howato who was eight months pregnant. The suspect summoned her for a ride early Sunday morning. She drove him to an apartment complex a mile up the road, and he stabbed her to death and stole her car. She never stood a chance.

I can’t imagine what her family is going through. Her poor kids. How do they deal with this?

It’s shocking. She probably thought she was relatively safe because who’d do anything to a pregnant lady? I don’t know if this guy is mentally ill or just a cold-blooded douchebag.

Violence on the roads

durazo
The 20-year old suspect, Fabian Durazo

Before I’d started driving, I’d read about a 16-year old girl in Chicago who’d started stabbing her Uber driver from the back seat while he was driving. The poor guy died. That made me think twice about starting to drive, but I rationalized it. It happened in Chicago — everyone knows it has a problem with violent crime. Right?

But this attack happened in Tempe, my stomping grounds. Kristina Howato had picked up this guy in Tempe in an area I’d picked up a lot of people.

RIP, Kristina. There but for the grace of God go I.

It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve driven a passenger. Uber and Lyft keep messaging me to update my documents so I can get reactivated. I’d been meaning to do it over the past couple of months so I could hit the road again, but I kept procrastinating. (What’s new, right?)

Anyway, maybe it’s just time to hang up my keys.

*Edit — Adding a video clip from local news about Kristina.

Update

Damn, on the west side of town, a passenger slit the throat of an Uber driver while he was driving last night — luckily the driver survived. Yeah, I’m thinking I’m done driving.

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20 thoughts on “Musings: A Horrific Crime

    1. Sean D. Layton

      I know the odds of something like this happening to me are slim, but it does make me not want to drive. I did have a few sketchy characters in my car. One was an addict who was high and rambling and I thought how easy it would be for him to attack me.

  1. That is almost incomprehensibly awful. How sad, and how stupid. I can imagine there would be concern over some of the characters you encounter driving, but to think of something like this happening is just beyond. I’m sure the odds of an attack are so low, but yeah…if you have other work, maybe time to just let it go.

    1. Sean D. Layton

      Yes, I was actually seriously worried only 2 or 3 times. Uncomfortable a few times. A local driver just posted a passenger tried to slit his friend’s throat last night — I haven’t seen any news reports on it yet. Anyway, it was enjoyable to get out and about at times, but having strangers in your car just isn’t worth it in the end.

  2. I’m speechless, I had no idea. This world is a terrible place, and I have zero trust in anyone. I tell my children, both men and women are not be trusted. If we don’t know them, stay away from them.
    And to think she was maybe wanting to work the last few weeks of pregnancy to help her family before her due date.
    I think of her children, may they have much emotional support during this difficult time.

    1. Sean D. Layton

      I know what you mean. Some people are devoid of empathy and compassion — more closer to a wild predator that operates in survival mode. When I was young, I used to think everyone was like me — violence was something in movies, not real life. My eyes were soon opened to the reality of things.

      1. Yes. Unfortunately these are violent times we live in. This just came to mind to mention, we often think of children not saying hello, or smiling at a stranger when the stranger smiles at them, as rude. I don’t think that way. Once again, these are different times, when the most innocent looking stranger can be capable of the most heinous things. I’d rather you/people think my children are rude, then they go off and say hello to someone they don’t know.
        Yes, as you said, that’s reality.

      2. Sean D. Layton

        I think there have always been violent people perpetrating violence against innocents, particularly in crowded cities. We just hear about it more because of 24/7 mass media. Back in the day before newspapers if something happened it was probably eventually forgotten unless it inspired a local tale or song.

        I don’t blame you about your kids. Hell, you have to even be careful with them around people you think you know. My parents let me go on a trip with a family from our church who we spent a lot of time with when I was 12 and nothing happened to me, thank God, but the dad went to prison for molesting his kids, so I got off lucky. I did have another incident when I was 10 or 11. My family was shopping and I walked off to look at something near the door and a shifty guy walked up and asked if my parents were around. They were several aisles over out of sight but I lied and pointed at the nearest adult I could see and the guy walked away.

      3. Very true Sean. There have always been violence, always, some are heard of more than others.
        Yes, I think things like that happen more with people you ‘know’ than with strangers. You just never really know what demons lie within people, until it’s too late. There are many stories similar to yours. Unfortunately we all have had something like that or worse – or not, happen. So glad you were able to think quick and the guy walked away. Thank God!
        I read a couple months ago on a little girl – perhaps 8 years old, she’s waiting in front of her school for her mom to pick her up. A man drives up in front of her and tells her to get in, that her mom has sent him. The girl said, ‘what’s the password?’ He looked confused, she said, ‘what’s the password?’ He couldn’t tell her, so he drove off. I loved that! Such a simple thing to do with the children. The password saved her life!

      4. Sean D. Layton

        What a nightmare. When I helped take care of my goddaughter when she was little, I was always hyper vigilant and terrified someone would try and grab her.

      5. I know what you mean! Yes, parks as much as we’d like to let them be and run ‘wild.’ Nope. Keep an eye on them. It’s all points that we need to be aware of and be realistic on what today’s world consist of. As parents, care givers, etc, being vigilant is a 24/7 job. Granted if things are going to happen, they will, but if I can avoid it from happening, I will.

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