Authorities in Florida have arrested and charged a man for allegedly attacking a Lyft driver. During the incident, the man allegedly tore through a plastic partition to place the driver in a chokehold. While the man and driver blamed each other following the incident, viral dashcam footage tells the true story of the altercation.
The conflict arose as Travis Smith, Andrew Kastl, and Kastl’s 7-year-old son sat in the back seat of the Lyft just past midnight on August 2. Smith later told police that the driver was maneuvering recklessly. According to Smith’s statement, he grabbed the driver to make him pull over since Smith felt he, his friend and the boy were in danger.
However, the driver, who has asked not to be publicly identified, told police a different story. According to him, Smith was apparently upset about the plastic partition in the car. The driver said Smith tore the partition down and placed him in a chokehold without warning.
Police arrived on the scene just in time to witness the aftermath, as Smith and the driver brawled outside of the stopped car. However, footage recovered from the driver’s dashboard camera confirmed his version of events.
In the footage, Smith questions the driver repeatedly about the plastic partition.
“How’d you seal that up,” he asks. “Like, you did that yourself?”
Smith seems to become angry when the driver says he bought and installed the partition himself.
“I think you’re a liar,” says Smith, who authorities confirm was intoxicated at the time. “How’d you get this?”
The car’s interior light then flicks on, appearing to anger Smith further. The driver later told police that one of the passengers had opened their door, causing the dome light to go on.
Smith and Kastl murmur to each other briefly before Smith is seen reaching through the plastic barrier and placing the driver in a chokehold. In the ensuing commotion, the terrified 7-year-old is heard screaming as Kastl’s door flies open. Smith and the driver then exit the vehicle, before the driver returns to engage the brake. He then exits again before calling for bystanders to call the police.
Investigators also said Kastl can be heard in the footage telling Smith, “Get that [expletive],” reports ClickOrlando. The exact expletive, and who or what it referenced, is unclear.
Authorities arrested Smith and took Kastl and his son to a nearby hotel, reports the Orlando Sentinel. However, Kastl has since come to face the consequences as well. According to ClickOrlando news, both men are currently charged with battery and child abuse. The latter charges stem from placing Kastl’s 7-year-old son in danger while the car was moving, police say.
The driver reportedly suffered a hematoma on the side of his forehead and other minor injuries.
“This was a very dangerous situation for not only the people inside the vehicle but for the other motorists on the roadway,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “This drunk attacked an innocent driver and put numerous lives in danger. These rider-share services can quickly become dangerous and drivers should be cautious of who they let in their vehicle. Thankfully the video recording device captured the entire incident and he went to jail.”