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

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.


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.



11 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.

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