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Uber driver ‘still scared’ 1 year after attack; suspect remains at large

Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-07 17:36:15-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- An Uber driver who said he was attacked after picking up a passenger in Chesterfield County is frustrated with police and the ride sharing company that no one has been arrested in the case one year after the ordeal.

Samuel Aponte said driving for Uber was his lifeline for providing for his family.

"I'm weak -- all my body is weak," Aponte said. "I'm starting to walk, but I've got to be careful because if I fall, I wont be able to get up on my own," Aponte said. "I'm still scared you know when I pick somebody up."

The father of two said the ordeal started when he stopped at a shopping center off Midlothian Turnpike to pick up his first customer one Sunday morning in April of 2017.

"He was quiet, and I said, 'Hello, sir. How are you?'" Aponte said. "[And he said] nothing else, so I realized that he didn't want to talk."

Aponte said he was following GPS and heading towards Chippenham Parkway, when the passenger sitting directly behind him, started yelling

"You've got to do it right now! Turn to left! You don't know what you're doing," Aponte recounted.

And he said from there things quickly escalated.

"I saw the attacker when he approached to me on the mirror, I saw him one sec, it was just quick," Aponte said. "I felt that punch, it was on my right side... and I almost passed out."

The passenger jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran off.

Aponte's glasses were broken and his face was bruised. However, he was able to get off the road and pull into this parking lot, where he dialed 911.

"I was very nervous and I was agitated with a bad head ache and the most scary thing is I was thinking he was going to come back," Aponte said.

Chesterfield officers responded first, followed by an ambulance crew, and Aponte was rushed to the hospital.

While a police report was taken, no one was arrested.

The driver said he was stuck from behind while his back was turned and he was focused on the road, so he did not get a good look at his attacker.

Samuel Aponte

Samuel Aponte

Aponte said he feels betrayed by Uber because he was hoping they would help with his medical bills even though they are not required to.

"I feel so frustrated," Aponte said. "They call us partners but they don't care."

And he says he is frustrated with the pace of the investigation

"Police have the info of the person who requested the trip," Aponte said. "They have the info so police should go to his house and find out."

However, police said that after investigators made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the suspect, they tried another tactic in December. Detectives had Aponte look at lineup of potential suspects

He pointed to one person, but it turned out to be an innocent man,

A short time later, the case became inactive.

Aponte said that a year after the attack, he can barely remember what the suspect looks like.

But he said that all this time later, Uber and police should be able to figure out who requested the ride, and he maintains hat will help crack the case.

"That person knows who attacked me -- for sure 100-percent," Aponte said.

WTVR CBS 6 reached out to both Uber and Chesterfield Police.

A spokesperson for Uber said the company provided information to police upon request and they are now working with the victim to see if they can help him.

Additionally, Chesterfield Police officials said that the case has been reactivated, the investigation is ongoing and that they are continuing to search for the suspect.

CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigations -- Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m.

CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigations -- Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m.