GoFundMe created for Lyft driver assaulted by rider with microphone stand in California
By Bryan Ke
August 13, 2021
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrested a man in connection to an attack on a Lyft driver in Jurupa Valley, Calif., earlier this month.
Gruesome assault: The incident began when the suspect, Michael Trunko, 23, hailed a Lyft ride outside Fabio’s Bar and Night Club on Mission Boulevard around 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 1, according to KTLA.
- Trunko, who had boxes of DJ equipment with him, asked the driver, Ye Lu, if he could place his belongings in the backseat. Lu declined and told him to put the items in the trunk, according to NBC Los Angeles.
- A verbal altercation ensued and Lu refused to give Trunko a ride. The dashcam’s audio captured Trunko telling the driver, “If I can’t use the backseat you’re going to get fired,” ABC7 News reported.
- A deputy said Trunko admitted to attacking Lu with a Nintendo Switch Ring Fit and a microphone stand. Lu said he was allegedly hit at least two or three times in the head, and that his Lexus was also damaged from the assault.
- Lu managed to drive away from the scene and call 911 for help. He was then rushed to the hospital for treatment.
- He suffered a two-inch gash to his forehead and needed six stitches. Lu also complained of pain in one of his arms.
The aftermath: Trunko was arrested at the scene and police managed to recover the items he used to attack Lu.
- He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and robbery into the Robert Presley Detention Center but was bailed out and released the same day. His court date is set for Dec. 20, where he will face felony robbery, assault and vandalism charges.
- Trunko was “acting erratically” at the bar and “refused to leave” when asked, Juan Villafana, manager of Fabio’s Bar and Night Club, told KTLA. He also threatened “Villafana and others and others with a torch” when they refused to let him play his music.
- “The whole night, [security] was just trying to get him out. I don’t know why they didn’t call the cops,” Villafana said. They eventually let him play for 20 minutes.
- Lyft released a statement following the attack. The company said: “Safety is fundamental to Lyft. The behavior described is appalling, and we’ve reached out to the driver to offer our support. We permanently removed the rider from the Lyft platform and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.”
- A GoFundMe was set up by Torsten Kunert, a rideshare advocate who also posted the dashcam video to his YouTube channel, Rideshare Professor, on behalf of Lu to help him with the medical and car bills. It has raised over $6,000 as of this writing.
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