Family of Man Killed in Freeway Hit and Run Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Lyft Driver

Justin Lavelle, 23, was struck in a hit-and-run crash in after his Lyft driver demanded he get out of the car on the 110 Freeway

What to Know

  • Family of a man killed by a hit-and-run driver on a SoCal freeway filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against a Lyft driver and the company
  • Justin Lavelle 23, of West Hollywood, died Jan. 31 after being struck by a car on the Harbor (110) Freeway
  • Lavelle was left on a freeway shoulder after his driver allegedly stopped, pepper-sprayed him, then ejected him

The family of a man killed by a hit-and-run driver on a Southern California freeway after his family says he was kicked out of a Lyft ride-share car by the driver in an argument has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Lyft and the former driver.

Justin Lavelle 23, of West Hollywood, died Jan. 31 after being struck by a car on the Harbor (110) Freeway, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

He was left on a freeway shoulder after his driver, Tariq Rasheed, allegedly stopped on the freeway, pepper-sprayed him, then ejected him from the car, the lawsuit said.

"This lawsuit has been brought to ensure that Justin's life was not taken in vain," said attorney Conal Doyle. "We are seeking to improve safety in the ride-sharing industry and to hold the responsible parties accountable."

Rasheed told NBC4 Tuesday night that he and Lavelle argued over the fact that Lavelle was trying to take control of the steering wheel while riding in the passenger seat.

"I could not jeopardize my life," said Rasheed. "He was drunk. I almost had accident, almost got killed. I warned him three times. He wouldn't listen."

He said he stopped on the freeway, told him to get into the back seat and he would continue driving.

"I didn't kick him out. He got out. I was very shocked, very scared what to do."

Rasheed was fired from Lyft.

Lyft did not respond to emails seeking comment on Tuesday.

Lavelle had been going to a friend's house in Long Beach after going to dinner and a bar in West Hollywood, the lawsuit said.

Rasheed was unfit to be a Lyft driver and posed a danger to the public, the lawsuit said. It accused Lyft of failing to take care in hiring Rasheed and failed to adequately train or supervise him.

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