An Uber driver is suing a former Taco Bell executive accused of slapping and hitting the driver in an attack that was recorded on video.
Edward Caban filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Orange County against 32-year-old Benjamin Golden. The suit seeks damages in excess of $25,000 for assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress.
Golden has been charged with assault and battery by the Orange County District Attorney. The Newport Beach resident is out of jail. NBC4 attempted to contact Golden's attorney, but did not receive a response as of early Wednesday afternoon.
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In a statement issued Wednesday, Golden's attorney said he would like to "sincerely apologize."
"Mr. Golden recognizes that despite his level of intoxication, he should have never slapped Mr. Caban and is extremely remorseful for his actions," the statement continued. "We have reached out to Mr. Caban's attorney in hopes of offering Mr. Golden’s apology and deep regret in person. We are awaiting their response.
"We want the public to understand this is an isolated incident in Mr. Golden's life and not the type of conduct he engages in, personally or professionally. Mr. Golden accepts full responsibility for his actions and understands the consequences that may occur as a result. Mr. Golden has worked hard to live a life of compassion, respect and professionalism and understands the damage that this incident has done. Moving forward, Mr. Golden will avail himself of all opportunities that will assist him in gaining insight and growth from this experience."
Golden, a former brand manager for Taco Bell, was ordered out of the car on Friday in Costa Mesa because he was too drunk to give directions, police said.
"Get out of my car or I will call the police," Caban can be heard saying.
Golden "became enraged" and began to strike the driver while in the back seat, according to the lawsuit. Dashboard video showed the passenger start to exit the vehicle, partially opening the back door, before unleashing the series of blows.
The dashboard camera captured Golden slapping Caban, grabbing his hair and slamming his head against a window.
The driver used pepper spray to fend off the attack.
If convicted of the criminal charges, Golden faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine, prosecutors said. The Costa Mesa Police Department said Golden had been arrested on charges including public intoxication, but prosecutors declined to pursue that charge.
Arraignment is scheduled for later this month.
Uber makes a point to educate its driver's with safety tips for dealing with unruly passengers. No ride is anonymous, a spokeswoman for the company, Kayla Whaling told NBC Owned Television Stations. Uber has since removed the former Taco Bell executives account and will be flagged if he tries to sign up again.