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Student’s death brings Uber safety to the fore

After a college student recently entered a car she believed to be her Uber ride and was later found dead, experts urge riders to review ride-sharing safety tips.

Samantha Josephson, 21, a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, became separated from her friends after a night out and called for an Uber ride at 2 a.m. March 29. She entered a black Chevrolet Impala thinking it was her ride. Her body was found about 14 hours later in a field 90 miles away. A man has been arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping.

How police broke the case

Josephson’s roommates became worried when she didn’t arrive home and called police at about 1:30 p.m. to report her absence. At about 4 p.m., turkey hunters reported finding a body in a field about 40 feet off a dirt road southeast of Columbia. Police identified the body as Josephson’s.

At about 3 a.m. Saturday police stopped the Impala Josephson had reportedly entered the night before. Blood found in the passenger’s side seat and in the trunk matched Josephson’s and her cell phone was found in the passenger compartment.

Ride-sharing safety tips

Experts share these tips on how to remain safe while using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft:

  • Wait for your ride indoors
  • Ride in the back seat
  • Pay attention not only to the time of arrival, but the make, model and color of the car as well
  • Match the license plate on the screen to the car you are entering
  • Map your own route to your destination, especially if you are travelling in an unfamiliar city
  • Don’t give your driver any private information
  • Never share credit card information with the driver. Pay through the app
  • Use the “share status” option on the Uber app and the “send ETA” option on the Lyft app to let your friends know where you are and who you’re with

Every-day activities – from crossing the street to cutting open a bagel – provide the chance of danger. While we can’t live our lives in fear, we can be aware of dangerous situations. Just like you wouldn’t cross the street without looking both ways, you should also be aware of dangerous situations when you use ride-sharing services.

If you or a loved one have been injured or felt threatened while using a ride-sharing service, contact a qualified, experienced attorney for advice on how to handle the situation.

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