VIDEO: Florida man angry over COVID-19 barrier in Lyft vehicle attacks driver

Around the South

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida Lyft passenger attacked his driver Sunday morning out of anger over a plastic barrier installed for COVID-19 protection, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

Travis Smith (Flagler County Sheriff’s Office)

Flagler County deputies responded to an intersection in Palm Coast just after midnight Sunday morning to find the suspect, 36-year-old Travis Smith, fighting with the Lyft driver in the road.

Smith, who deputies said was visibly intoxicated, told deputies that he and his friend’s 7-year-old child were taking the Lyft home from Flagler Beach when the driver began driving recklessly. In order to protect themselves, Smith said he grabbed the driver and forced him to pull over.

Deputies reviewed the dash footage the driver had set up in his car that captured the entire incident, and determined Smith was lying.

The video shows Smith question the driver about the clear plastic partition that was installed due to COVID-19. Smith got angry and suddenly attacked the Lyft driver while the vehicle was still in motion, the sheriff’s office said.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The 7-year-old in the car can be heard crying in fear.

The driver slows the vehicle down and the passengers get out, the attack spilling out into the street.

“This drunk attacked an innocent driver and put numerous lives in danger,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “These rider-share services can quickly become dangerous and drivers should be cautious of who they let in their vehicle.”

The Lyft driver suffered minor injuries during the altercation, including a bruise on the side of his forehead.

Smith was arrested and charged with battery and child abuse, due to the 7-year-old child in the car at the time of the attack.

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