Uber Driver Gets Charged With Manslaughter For Death Of Teenage Passenger
A 29-year-old Uber driver has been charged with manslaughter after a teenage passenger he let ‘car surf’ on the roof of his vehicle fell to his death.
Ryan Mullen, 15, had been ‘car surfing’ on the roof of the Danyal Cheema’s vehicle on September 23 in Huntington. He ended up falling and subsequently suffered a traumatic brain injury, dying hours after he arrived at a friend’s house following the ride, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said.
The whole situation began when they went to a 7Eleven store and, according to Sini, they asked the driver to car surf. “This was an incredibly bad decision by the defendant, a bad decision by the boys involved, obviously,’ Tim Sini said. “But at the end of the day, that defendant is an adult contracted to safely bring those boys home, and he failed to do that.”
The driver, 24-year-old Danyal Cheema, is now being charged with second-degree manslaughter and was arraigned in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Monday morning. He made no comment at the proceeding and was ordered held on $200,000 bail. Along with the charge, his license was also suspended.
The incident took place just after midnight in Huntington Station on September 23.
Prosecutors have said that Mullen was with two other teens and that Cheema accepted $40 to allow Mullen and another teen to “car surf” on the roof of his Toyota Highlander SUV. He was said to be driving at 30 miles per hour when Mullen fell off the roof. Instead of taking the injured teen to a hospital, Cheema drove him to a friend’s house where Mullen died later that night.
The medical examiner’s office ruled the young boy’s cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
His parents, Janice and Matt Mullen, said they don’t want any family to suffer a loss similar to theirs again. Janice told ABC7 Eyewitness News: “This can’t happen again, no one should have to go through this pain.”
In a statement on the incident, Uber said: “Words cannot describe how deeply troubled we are by this incident. Our thoughts are with the rider’s family during this difficult time. This driver has been permanently removed from the app.”