KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Five years after an Uber driver’s murderous rampage in Kalamazoo, one man who was spared that day is demanding accountability in a civil lawsuit from the ride-hailing company the employee was working for.
For Matt Mellen, February 20, 2016 was a day he will never forget.
“He was running red lights at that point, squealing the tires,” Mellen told reporters in 2016. “We ran a stop sign and sideswiped another vehicle. That’s when I was obviously panicking.”
Mellen rolled out of the car and scraped his body across pavement before calling 911, according to recently filed court documents obtained by News 8.
He then tried to contact Uber for more than an hour, the documents said. The suit explains Uber’s incident response team is on call 24/7 to deactivate drivers who “threaten the safety of riders.” The company will then investigate and permanently deactivate a driver if violations are found.
But after Mellen’s ride, Jason Dalton was able to continue accepting ride requests.
It was the night Dalton killed six people and seriously injured two more during a shooting rampage. He did not fire any shots or kill anyone while Mellen was with him.
Dalton is now serving life in prison without parole.
In an interview just days after the shootings, Mellen told reporters he was dumbfounded as to how calm Dalton was as he was erratically driving.
But Mellen believes Uber could have done something to stop him, which is why the company is the target of a now-federal civil lawsuit.
Mellen is suing Uber, claiming it violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and committed fraud and silent fraud. He said Uber did not have a team available 24/7, creating a false impression.
Mellen says he was “severely traumatized,” suffering from PTSD and “severe survivor’s guilt.”
Uber said the statute of limitations on the claims Mellen is making passed years ago and that he has no case.
So far, there are no hearings scheduled for this case in federal court.