Fatal Uber shooting stemmed from ‘vomit’ in car

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The fatal shooting of a New Mexico man who authorities have said was killed by a ride-share driver early this year stemmed from “a large amount of vomit” in an Uber vehicle, according to court documents.

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Court documents submitted by the Bernalillo County District Attorney last week said the shooting was prompted by the vomit and an argument over a “clean-up fee,” the Albuquerque Journal reported .

Police have said driver Clayton Benedict shot and killed passenger James Porter, 27, after stopping along Interstate 25 in Albuquerque on March 17. Benedict has not been charged and has declined to comment.

District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick said a charging decision may come in the next few weeks.

“Prosecutors are currently going over hundreds of documents and videos,” Patrick said.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed seeking information from Uber about Benedict’s trips for the day and other information, Benedict picked up Porter and his friend from the Salt Yard bar on the evening of Saint Patrick’s Day.

The friend, Jonathan Reyes, later told police the two had been at the bar since 2 p.m. and although he typically doesn’t drink, that day he had six or seven drinks.

Benedict — who had been driving for Uber for the past year and a half — told detectives they were traveling south on I-25 when Reyes vomited in the back seat.

“At this point the other passenger and Clayton start to go back and forth about a potential ‘clean-up fee,'” the detective wrote in the affidavit. “James is the male arguing/pleading with Clayton not to charge him for a ‘clean-up fee.'”

That’s when Benedict said he pulled over and asked the men to get out of the car. He said he ended the ride and gave Porter a review of “one star.”

He said Porter slammed the door.

Benedict said he fired “an unknown amount of rounds” toward Porter after Porter threatened to run him over with his own car.

Last month, the family of Porter filed a lawsuit against Uber and Benedict over the shooting.

The San Francisco-based Uber told the Journal in a statement that Benedict no longer has access to the Uber app as a driver.

Last year, an Uber driver in Denver was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a passenger on a Colorado highway. Police have said driver Michael Hancock, 29, shot and killed Hyun Kim, 45, following an altercation in the car. Hancock’s family has said he only shot in self-defense.

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