USC Uber Kidnapping
By: Emme Semarjian and Courtney Conrad
USA Today reported on March 29, 2019, that USC student Samantha Josephson was killed after mistakenly getting into the wrong car (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/03/samantha-josephson-college-students-rethinking-rideshares-uber-lyft/3353515002/) . Samantha believed that this car was her uber. The driver, Nathaniel D. Rowand, is now a suspect for murder and kidnapping, but has not been found. When caught, Rowand will most likely face life in prison. There have been many memorials for Samantha, and loved ones have spoken kind words about her. They claim that she was a genuine person who had a lot of energy and inspired the people around her. Samantha will be missed everyday.
Unfortunately, this is not the only recent case of dangerous uber rides. Nancy Leong, a professor, was on a ride home from the airport, and her driver would not allow her to get out of the car. He was driving incredibly dangerously, and claimed that he was not taking her to her destination, but to a nearby hotel. Leong claimed to have banged on the windows to get let out, but still she was kept inside the car. Eventually, the driver unlocked the doors and she ran out. Leong is thankfully now safe, but that is not always the case.
College students are now being more cautious when they are getting into ubers, as there have been a recent increase in uber kidnappings and attempted kidnappings all over the country. Molly Fegus, the general manager of TripSavy recommends that people always try and match the license plate and car type on your uber app to the car that is pulling up to you (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/03/samantha-josephson-college-students-rethinking-rideshares-uber-lyft/3353515002/). If the car or driver that pulls up to you does not match the car, license, or picture on the uber app, do not engage with the driver. She also recommends that you always let a family member or friend know whenever you leave somewhere if you are in an uber alone. The last thing she recommends that when you see your a car that looks like your uber pull up to you, make sure you stand a far enough away so that you can take those extra precautions and make sure he or she is actually your driver. While these things may seem like a no-brainer, they are things that have proved to save some college students lives.