By now, you've likely heard the story of the UberX passenger who was attacked with a hammer by his rideshare car's driver. It turns out that passenger was a member of the local restaurant community: Roberto Chicas, a 35-year-old bartender at SOMA British restaurant The Cavalier. Like so many industry folks out past Muni's closing time, Chicas called an Uber home to the Lower Haight after a Monday-night shift behind The Cavalier's bar on the morning of September 23. He and two friends got into an UberX driven by 26-year-old Pacifica resident Patrick Karajah, and things quickly went wrong.
As the Chron reports, Karajah allegedly hopped on the 101, taking Chicas south to Alemany Boulevard, instead of his intended destination in the Lower Haight. (Given that it was past 2 am on a Tuesday morning, there's no way it could have been a traffic-avoidance maneuver.) Chicas and his friends, frustrated with the inaccurate route, complained to Karajah, who threatened to throw them out of the car twice before finally dumping them nowhere near their destination, at a public housing complex at Alemany Boulevard and Ellsworth Street. He then allegedly snapped, beating Chicas severely with a claw hammer.
Chicas, who was admitted to the hospital, has sustained major damage to his left eye; doctors remain unsure if he'll ever be able to see out of it again, and he'll need multiple facial reconstructive surgeries. Karajah, who plead not guilty to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury, is currently out on $120K bail; Uber has suspended his driver account, but has yet to refund Chicas' fare (or his risible $1 "safe rides fee"). Those who'd like to help support Chicas should consider grabbing a "Chicas Special" (a beer and a shot of Fernet) at Louie's Bar in the FiDi; $1 from each purchase will go towards Chicas' recovery fund.
Update, 10/6, 9:25 am: The Cavalier has made a statement on the attack: "Our hearts go out to Roberto Chicas and his family. Roberto is a model employee and a valued member of The Cavalier team. We hope that the perpetrator and his employer Uber are both held responsible for this vicious attack. Roberto has our continued support, and we are all hoping for a full and quick recovery for our friend and colleague." Meanwhile, Uber has refunded Chicas' ride, but continues to dance around the issue of whether they're liable: "The injuries suffered by Mr. Chicas are deplorable and we wish him a quick recovery. Uber’s insurance provider is in contact with representatives of both the rider and driver, and of course we will continue to cooperate with authorities throughout the investigation."