Authorities in New York are searching for a passenger who violently attacked a Lyft driver during the course of a trip last Thursday.
The driver, Eduardo Madiedo, 36, said he was beaten while driving two passengers to Mount Sinai Hospital in Astoria, Queens.
Madiedo’s dashcam captured the encounter, which began after a male passenger got into the car with an older woman who held him as he laid in the back seat moaning as if in pain for several minutes.
The passenger then removes his shirt and, using profane language, tells Madiedo to drive faster by cutting in front of the cars ahead.
Madiedo warns the passenger, “Excuse me, man, if you’re gonna be disrespectful I’ll just pull over right now,” which triggered the man to repeatedly and violently punch the driver's head while the car was still moving.
“Out of nowhere, he started punching in back of the head as much as he could," Madiedo told NBC News, adding that he was in the middle of rush-hour traffic and was struggling to keep control of the car during the attack. “I wear driving glasses that he knocked off my face.”
The video then shows the passenger lunging forward in an effort to get into the front seat while aggressively grabbing Madiedo by the neck as he pulls the car over.
The woman urges the man, who is screaming hysterically, to stop and they both exit the car. Seconds later, the man pummels Madiedo once again through the window. "He tried to open my door from the inside to pull me out of the car,” Madiedo said.
Lyft said it permanently banned the passenger from the ride-sharing app, according to WNBC-TV. The company has not released details of the man's identity.
“It is unacceptable for a professional driver to have to fear being in his work environment. We are grateful that Mr. Madiedo wasn’t seriously injured, and have every confidence that his attacker will be facing the consequences of his actions as soon as possible," said Allan Fromberg, a spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates the for-hire vehicle industry in New York City, according to WNBC-TV. "It should also be noted that Mr. Madiedo was victimized while communicating a crucial safety message to his two passengers, which makes this unwarranted violence all the more disturbing."
Aside from bumps on the back of his head, bruises and soreness, Madiedo said he did not suffer any serious injuries, but the incident was a "turning point" for him and he's not sure he's going to continue working as a ride-share driver.
"I feel anxious to go back to work," he said. "I have to go in a different direction, it's not a safe way to go anymore.”
Madiedo said he is sharing the harrowing video in the hopes that it will help apprehend the man who attacked him.
"I want the gentleman to get caught and face consequences,” he said. "If there are no repercussions, anyone can do this."