Family of Latino Uber Driver Killed by Passenger Want Justice — ‘She Ruined Our Lives’

Lead Photo: Credit: DuKai photographer/Getty Images
Credit: DuKai photographer/Getty Images
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Daniel Piedra Garcia, a 52-year-old Uber driver, was taken off life support earlier this week after he was shot by one of his passengers, who mistakenly believed he was trying to kidnap her and take her to Mexico. A vigil will be held for him Friday evening (June 23) in El Paso, Texas.

On June 16, Piedra Garcia picked up 48-year-old Phoebe Copas in the mid-afternoon and was driving her to an entertainment venue in El Paso. It is being reported that during the trip, Copas saw signs that read “Juarez, Mexico,” which led her to believe that Piedra Garcia was kidnapping her across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Copas then pulled a gun from her purse and shot Piedra Garcia. The car crashed and Copas called 911, but not before taking a photo of the critically wounded driver and sending it via text message to her boyfriend.

“What we were told originally was that the lady saw the sign on the freeway that said it was Mexico,” said Didi Lopez, the niece of Piedra Garcia. “So, she panicked and thought that my uncle was kidnapping her. And so, her instinct was to shoot him and she shot him multiple times in the head.”

According to the affidavit, “the roadway [Piedra Garcia] was traveling on is a normal route to drive to the destination requested by [Copas].”

Piedra had no brain activity when he reached the hospital. He remained on life support until Wednesday (June 21). “We didn’t want to see him suffering,” Lopez said. “We didn’t want him to live out his life like that.”

Copas is currently in the El Paso Jail charged with murder. Her bond is set at $1.5 million. “It wasn’t fair that that’s how the situation played out,” Lopez said. “I wish she would’ve spoken up, asked questions, not acted on impulse and made a reckless decision because not only did she ruin our lives, but she ruined her life, too. We just want justice for him. That’s all we’re asking.”

A GoFundMe account was created to help Piedra Garcia’s family pay for hospital and funeral expenses.