A ride-share passenger became the victim of a fatal hit-and-run after he and his driver allegedly got into some sort of altercation on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.
"He was screaming hideously and saying, 'Mom, mom, I have been pepper sprayed,'" the victim’s mother, Amy Lavelle said of the last time she spoke with her son.
After learning her son was left on the freeway, the phone call got disconnected. Justin Lavelle, West Hollywood resident, had been struck by a vehicle near the Slauson Avenue exit on the 110 Freeway.
Amy, who is from Virginia Beach, rushed to Los Angeles to see her son after he died.
"He was unrecognizable," she said.
Justin was on his way from West Hollywood to Long Beach in a Lyft to visit his friend. He called his friend to inform him that his driver was acting "weird" and he was having issues with him.
His friend then asked to speak to the driver on a cell phone, to which the driver warned he was going to kick Justin out of the car.
The Lyft driver admit he made Justin exit on the side of the 110 Freeway, but denies he sprayed anything in his eyes. He alleges that Justin was drunk and put their lives in danger.
"He hold my steering and I couldn’t move an inch," driver Tariq Rasseed said. "I would have died; I didn’t have no choice left."
Rasseed, who has been driving ride-shares for over two years, said his act of his self-defense came after Justin demanded he drive faster then allegedly held the steering wheel twice.
Lyft issued a statement following the death of Justin Lavelle.
"We are deeply saddened by this incident," the ride-share company said. "Given the serious nature of these allegations, we have immediately deactivated the driver's account."
Rasseed also drove for ride-share company Uber, which has also suspended his account.
If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up for Justin's funeral costs, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of all funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation, in the form of payment processing charges.