NYC woman sues ride-share app Via after ‘terrifying’ trip

A Manhattan woman claims she endured a trip from hell through the ride-share app Via — which ended up escaping the moving car on the Grand Central Parkway to get away from her irate driver, a newbie. court case.

Dinora Dendariarena says Via only offered her measly credit after she complained about the harrowing ride on Feb. 26, 2021 — when driver Lei Sun reportedly went mad, according to her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit on Tuesday.

After picking up Dendariarena from an address in East Harlem for the trip to Queens, Sun told his fare to “shut up” when she repeatedly asked him to open the windows in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, says the suit.

That prompted Dendariarena to report Sun to Via customer service during the trek, with the company saying they would contact him directly, the court documents said.

But suddenly “Sun’s attitude changed immediately and he became visibly angry,” the suit claims.

Sun reportedly flew past the exit to Dendarariarena’s destination and pointed to the app to indicate that he had canceled her trip, court papers say. The driver deliberately started driving in the wrong direction “towards an unknown destination,” the file alleges.

The journey then took a terrifying turn, Dendariarena’s lawsuit claims.

Dendariarena accused Via’s carpool driver, Lei Sun, of driving to an “unknown destination.”

“After the ride ended, Defendant Sun reached out to the back seat and tried to touch Ms. Dendariarena,” who moved to the other side of the back seat, the filing says.

Sun then accelerated and locked the doors as she tried to get out of the car, the suit claims.

When traffic forced the car to slow down on the Grand Central Parkway, Dendariarena grabbed her things and jumped out of the car “as it was moving”. She injured herself when she hit the sidewalk, the report says.

The unhinged driver “also got out of the vehicle and left it in the middle of traffic and chased Ms. Dendariarena,” the filing alleges.

Via ride-sharing apps in use on a smartphone.
Dendariarena’s attorney, Tracey Brown, lashed out at Via for not taking responsibility for the driver’s hostile behavior.

A Good Samaritan screamed for help and left Dendariarena safe in their car, according to the newspapers.

“Sun saw that Ms. Dedariarena was out of range, then got back into his vehicle and fled the crime scene,” the court papers say.

She immediately called 911 and filed a police report the next day.

After the terrifying incident, Via agreed to give her credit “for the ride for the ‘inconvenience’ of being attacked by their driver,” the indictment says.

Via ride-sharing apps in use on a smartphone.
Dendariarena alleges that Lei Sun allegedly locked the doors of his car and tried to touch her, according to the lawsuit.

Dendariarena “has suffered significant physical, psychological and economic injuries as a result of the defendant’s false imprisonment and harassing behavior,” the indictment continues.

“I think Via’s negligence is clear both in terms of their hiring, their training and their retention of their drivers,” Dendariarena’s attorney Tracey Brown told The Post. “If one of their drivers refuses to take a passenger to their destination, ignores a complaint made during the trip to Via, so that the driver continues to harass, mistreat and falsely imprison her, Via must be held absolutely liable.

“It is beyond insulting that they have so far refused to take responsibility for their actions,” Brown said. “And offering a free ride or a credit is not taking responsibility for hiring their drivers who attack and lock up passengers.”

Cars on the Grand Central Parkway pass through New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Dendariarena jumped out of Lei Sun’s car on the Grand Central Parkway in an attempt to escape his alleged abusive behavior.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Dendariarena is suing Via and the driver for unspecified damages under claims including negligence, assault and false imprisonment.

In a statement, the company said: “Via is deeply committed to driver and driver safety, and we take all incidents related to safety extremely seriously.

Contrary to the rider’s claims in this case, Via has responded promptly to the rider’s complaints, conducted a thorough internal investigation that did not support the rider’s claims, and has repeatedly contacted the rider with the offer to cooperate and assist with any law enforcement investigation.”

Sun was not immediately available for comment.


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