A security camera captured the moment a ride-share driver pulled his passenger from his car Tuesday and threw her to the ground on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, just before witnesses intervened.
The attack happened on the busy street in the middle of the day. Drivers and other witnesses stopped as Allesandra Starr Ward screamed for help. Security camera video shows Ward tumbling on to the road, her belongings scattering on the pavement after she was pulled from the back seat by the Lyft driver.
"It was grotesque, I mean, it turned my stomach,” one witness, Ryan McKenna, said.
Ward’s godmother, Melanie Bonvicino, ordered the 25-year-old a ride home just after noon Tuesday. Ward said she was playing music in the backseat when the driver threatened to throw her out if she didn’t turn it off.
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“What are you going to do remove me? What are you going to do, put your hands on me? Okay, I am calling 911,” she said she responded.
That’s when the car stopped. Witnesses said they saw the driver throw her phone, her scripts and her from the car.
“I saw the driver get out of the driver’s seat… reach in and violently yank this young lady from the car, kind of flinging her into the street,” McKenna said.
Another good Samaritan, Adel Berriri, said he jumped out of his car intending to stop the man.
“Somebody’s life is in danger, you have to jump in and do the right thing,” Berriri said.
A LA school police officer, flagged down by witnesses, eventually intervened to separate the driver from Ward and those trying to protect her.
In a statement, Lyft said the driver has been banned.
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft," spokesperson Ashley Adams said. "This video is horrifying, and we have permanently banned the driver from the Lyft community. We stand ready to assist the authorities and will continue to help in every way we can."
The LAPD Wilshire Division confirms school police detained the driver and then released him. Detectives said they can now pick up the investigation and will want to look closely at the surveillance video.
“What did I do? I should have turned off my music? Does that mean that I deserve to literally get beaten up, deserve to get beaten the s--t out of?” Ward asks while on her way to the hospital for the night. “I will never use one of those apps ever again in my life, never.”