CICERO, Ill. - Rideshare drivers across Chicagoland are speaking out after one of their own was shot and killed in Cicero Monday night.
The Uber driver, Joe Schelstraete, was responding to a pickup when he was killed.
The 38-year-old father of three from Indiana was a hardworking man just looking to make some extra cash.
"This is what I do to make a little extra money on the side," said Tyra, an Uber driver.
Tyra is eight-and-a-half months pregnant and can relate to the late Uber driver.
She says she doesn’t drive at night anymore out of fear. She says what happened to Schelstraete makes it even tougher.
Ring camera video shows Schelstraete pull up in a blue Ford Focus. He was then ambushed by four males with their hoods up.
There was a struggle and from there, he was shot in the head and later died.
Tyra says Uber doesn’t send drivers alerts on robberies, carjackings or any crimes in specific areas.
"They don’t tell us anything," said Tyra.
Tragically, the same area where Schelstraete was killed is where another Uber driver was robbed on May 11.
"During the daytime, I drive everywhere," said Tyra. "At night, I cut it off to the entire city."
Rideshare drivers across the Chicagoland are calling on Uber and Lyft to step up security after Schelstraete was killed.
"I don’t drive at night anymore," said Melitta, she’s driven for Lyft for five years and has a five star rating.
Melitta drives for Lyft and says she’s been in similar situations where she had to choose safety over money.
"It’s a woman’s picture, but two or three men come out with hats on masks up and you can see nothing but their eyes," said Melitta. "I will pull off and cancel the ride."
Attorney Bryant Greening works to get rideshare drivers compensation when attacked or injured on the job. He says more can be done.
"The companies are not doing enough," said Greening. "They could add a panic button in the cars. The options are endless."
Both Uber and Lyft did respond to our story, here’s some of their statements.
- In April, we rolled out a new feature across the US that will provide an extra layer of verification for riders who are using anonymous forms of payment such as prepaid cards, gift cards or Venmo.
- Riders who set up a new account using one of these anonymous forms of payment or log into a new device using an existing account that was set up with one of these payment types will be required to upload an ID or driver’s license from any state or a passport from any country for verification.
- Cancellations: Drivers can decline to accept or cancel a ride at any time if they ever feel uncomfortable.Safety products and policies
- We have a number of safety features that can help protect drivers.
- Ride verification: We encourage all riders to upload a photo to their Lyft account. Drivers can view their rider’s name and rating before accepting a ride, and can decline to accept or cancel a ride if they ever feel uncomfortable.