A video has emerged online that shows a drunk Florida man choking a Lyft driver in a moving car as he was upset over the coronavirus separation screen inside the cab.
The drunk passenger identified as Travis Smith had boarded the Lyft car along with a friend and his young seven-year-old son. The three were traveling from Flagler Beach to Palm Coast in rideshare cab operated by Lyft, Flagler Live reported.
As per the driver's account that has been corroborated with the dashcam video inside the car, it all began with Smith asking the driver about the partition in the vehicle, and later Smith's became upset for no reason and an attacks the innocent driver of the car.
In the video footage (see below) provided to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, Travis Smith who appears intoxicated repeatedly questions on where and how the Lyft driver got the plastic coronavirus separation screen.
The driver then tells him that he bought it all off e-bay and had it installed. Smith then agrees he has seen similar but then suddenly for no apparent reason calls the driver a liar and again asks him about the coronavirus separation screen: "How did you get this?"
After a brief silence, the lights of the car turns on, while the driver asks the passengers about a beeping noise that he's hearing and asks them if the back door of the car is open.
Smith then covers the light with his hands, while Smith and his friend look at each other and cuss before the child sitting wedged between the two drinking juice.
The video clip then shows Smith suddenly rip off the plastic screen and carries out an unprovoked attack on the driver. He grabs the driver around the throat while also punching him continuously. The Lyft driver also loses control of his car briefly but is able to stop it nonetheless.
Seeing what was happening Smith's friend in the backseat gets off the car with his son, who starts wailing. Smith also gets out of the car once it stops and starts running off.
The driver gets off the car and then returns to check the car, while asks someone to "call the cops," as other cars stop on Belle Terre seeing the commotion. The last frame shows Smith again approaching the driver on the road.
When Deputy Philip Kotowski arrived on the scene, as per the affidavit, the 36-year-old suspect Travis Schriever Smith, a resident of Rockne Lane in Palm Coast on top of the 47-year-old Lyft driver.
Deputy Kotowski had to take out his Taser and point it towards Smith to force him to finally let off the victim.
Smith in his version told the cops that the driver was driving recklessly through the red lights "so he attempted to subdue him after [the driver] ripped down the partition and was being verbally abusive to" Smith. The police found after verifying with the dashcam footage that Smith, who was drunk, "was being dishonest."
"This was a very dangerous situation for not only the people inside the vehicle but for the other motorists on the roadway," Sheriff Rick Staly said in an official 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."
The Lyft driver suffered minor injuries during the altercation, including a hematoma on the side of his forehead.
Smith was arrested and charged with Battery and Child Abuse for risking the 7-year-old child's life during the attack in a moving vehicle.
Smith was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and released after posting a $7,500 bond.
The co-passengers in the car, Smith's friend and his 7-year-old who were visiting him from Maine had to stay in a local hotel because when the deputies asked Smith to give his house key to his friend, he said to "Go F*ck Yourself."