Over the past few years, I’ve covered several armed citizen stories featuring Uber and Lyft drivers using firearms to defend their lives on the clock; a practice that’s forbidden by both companies. And unfortunately, during this same time period this website has also covered plenty of stories of unarmed drivers who weren’t able to fight back and lost their lives as a result.
I don’t know whether Christina Spicuzza would have chosen to carry a firearm on her while she was working for Uber, but I do know that she didn’t have a gun last Thursday when 22-year old Calvin Crew hopped into the back seat of her car.
Unfortunately, Crew did, and according to police he pointed it at the back of Spicuzza’s head about ten minutes after she picked him up; an act captured by Spicuzza’s dashcam.
Crew told her to “keep driving,” according to the criminal complaint cited by KDKA.
Spicuzza responded by saying, “Come on, I have a family.” Crew replied, “I got a family, too, now drive.”
Spicuzza’s pleading didn’t end there. The dash cam footage shows her saying, “I’m begging you, I have four kids.”
The video ends with Crew saying, “Do what I say and everything will be all right,” KDKA reports, citing the complaint in the case.
Everything did not turn out all right. Not for Christina Spicuzzi. Not for her four kids. And not even for Crew, who is now facing homicide and robbery charges after Spicuzzi’s body was found with a gunshot wound last weekend.
GPS records provided by Uber show the pair drove through several Allegheny County neighborhoods. Along the way, phone records showed that Spicuzza’s cash apps were accessed, KDKA reports. Apparently, robbery was the main motive in the killing.
Spicuzza and Crew then drove to Monroeville, where police say she was shot last Thursday night. Her body was found three days later in a wooded area there.
At last report, Crew, who was taken into custody and locked up at the Allegheny County Jail Thursday night, was still awaiting formal arraignment in the case.
It’s unconscionable to me that Uber and Lyft can still maintain their driver disarmament policies even after horrific crimes like these, and I know I’m not alone. In fact, Spicuzza’s boyfriend said in his first statement after her murder that he’s heard from many other drivers who say they don’t feel safe on the job.
Amongst the outreach of support that I have received, I have been contacted by a number of female Uber drivers, all of whom wanted to express their condolences but also to share how unsafe they feel on trips. We together agree, there are insufficient safety measures in place for the drivers and this needs to change. In the first extremely critical hours of my wife’s disappearance, when every second mattered, I feel that I could not have received less help from Uber, even though I was attempting to move mountains to find Christi. I have seen that Uber has released a statement saying they are sending condolences to the family, while ‘working with’ police. Yet I have received no such condolences, and I do not want the public to confuse the words ‘working with’ as ‘cooperating’. I don’t want to see this happen to someone else’s sister, daughter or wife. Uber needs to protect its drivers more and it starts here with Christi. Please continue to send us prayers. Thank you.”
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe set up to help Spicuzza’s family, you can do so here.
The easiest thing that Uber and Lyft could do to protect their drivers is to allow them to protect themselves with their legally-owned and lawfully-carried firearm. Yes, some drivers are already carrying in violation of company policy, because they’d rather lose their job than their life, but these companies can and should rescind the rule requiring contractors to be unarmed, even in their own vehicle, when they’re on the clock.
And honestly, until these corporate policies disappear, I believe every driver should go ahead and violate them. Get a gun, get your carry license, and don’t go driving without the means to defend your life if necessary.