DETROIT (CBS SF/AP) — Ride-hailing company Uber received a complaint about erratic driving by Jason Dalton Saturday night, but says it never could have predicted the violent acts Dalton allegedly committed.
Dalton was charged Monday with killing six people in random shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that began around 6 p.m. Saturday and ended nearly five hours later.
Uber passenger Matt Mellen said earlier Monday that he called police to report that Dalton was driving erratically more than an hour before the shootings began. Mellen also said he tried to report Dalton to Uber.
Uber security chief Joe Sullivan said the company received complaints about Dalton from several passengers on Saturday, including one about dangerous and erratic driving. Sullivan wouldn’t say whether that report came from Mellen.
Sullivan said Uber immediately suspends drivers who are accused of violent acts. But in the case of erratic driving, it typically contacts the driver first to make sure it hears both sides. Sullivan wouldn’t say whether Uber contacted Dalton Saturday night, referring questions about the timeline of events to law enforcement.
Sullivan also stressed that until Saturday, Uber had no reason to believe that anything was amiss.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service says Dalton cleared a background check and was approved to be a driver on Jan. 25. He had given slightly more than 100 rides and had a rating of 4.73 stars out of a possible five.
“I don’t think that we will change our screening processes as a result of this incident,” Sullivan said. “No background check would have flagged and anticipated this situation.”
Sullivan said he’s satisfied with the company’s response to the tragedy. Uber is working closely with law enforcement, he said, and is providing GPS locations of Dalton’s car and other information to aid the investigation.
The company’s driver vetting process has been a source of criticism for the highly successful ride sharing service.
Earlier this month, Uber agreed to pay a $28.5 million settlement to roughly 25 million riders in response to two class action lawsuits over the company’s collection of a questionable “safe ride fee.”
The class action lawsuits include Uber passengers who took a trip in the U.S. between January 1, 2013 and January 31, 2016.
Uber officials sought approval from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to settle two cases: Philliben v. Uber Technologies, Inc. and Mena v. Uber Technologies, Inc.
The lawsuits claim that despite the fee levied on riders, Uber has not adequately screened its drivers.
In a statement released by Uber, the company states that “no means of transportation can ever be 100 percent safe. Accidents and incidents do happen. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the language we use to describe safety at Uber is clear and precise.”
Uber is now waiting for the judge to approve or reject the settlement. If approved, members of the class action lawsuit will be notified by email and can be paid either by credit card or to their rider account.
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