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Lyft driver attacked, carjacked after telling couple not to vape in his car

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A Lyft driver said he was attacked and carjacked by his passengers after telling them they could not vape or snack in his vehicle.

Video Transcript

RAVI BAICHWAL: Last Wednesday, 56-year-old actor and Lyft driver Phillip Sanchez picked up a fare at the University of Chicago Medical Center-- a young couple booked for a half hour ride who insisted on vaping in his car despite signs prohibiting that and eating.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: I was getting scared. And [INAUDIBLE] but that car was a brand new car for me. I'd had it two months.

RAVI BAICHWAL: Nevertheless, he detoured at their request to the Wendy's drive-thru off the Dan Ryan at 55th.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: While they're making the transaction, I had to remind them, look. Sign's right here. No snacking. And that's when his girlfriend went ballistic.

RAVI BAICHWAL: As the woman screamed, he says the 19-year-old male suspect got out to pay at the window and then returned to Sanchez's 2020 Ford Escape, by now, the driver on the phone with 911. Sanchez says the woman's behavior here at the drive-thru so unnerved him that he could not properly respond to what the dispatcher was asking. As a result, dispatch said that they were going to hang up. But according to Sanchez, they had the presence of mind to ensure that the police were alerted.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: He got in the seat behind me and started punching me from behind right in the chest. And then he started doing it in the face.

RAVI BAICHWAL: The pair stole his cell phone and his backpack containing his iPad. Sanchez gave chase on foot.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: And then he looked at me and turned around and got confrontational. And I looked at him like, I'm not taking this. You've just drawn the line in the sand. And I got confrontational with him too. And [SIGHS] literally, he came at me to try to attack me, which I blocked. And as soon as I did that, he got into the driver's seat because the door was open already. And he took control of the car and sped off with it.

RAVI BAICHWAL: By Friday, police had found and charged a male offender. The driver says police told him his car was totaled.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: I have no income now because I don't have a car. And I'm not on unemployment because I'm tossed off that. Because of the pandemic, all my other industries went down.

RAVI BAICHWAL: Phillip Sanchez says he's in talks with Lyft and his own insurance company to get his wheels replaced. And despite this episode, he'll likely continue to drive because he likes his clients for the most part. Ravi Baichwal, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

PHILIP SANCHEZ: I don't care where we're at. Your ride is [? over. ?]