The rider, Matt Mellen, reported Dalton for erratic driving and said he had called 911 after “jumping” out of the car. Uber this afternoon confirmed they had not reviewed the feedback, which came in four hours before the first victim was killed.
“We got about a mile from my house, and he got a telephone call. After that call, he started driving erratically, running stop signs,” Mellen told CNN affiliate WWMT. “We were kind of driving through medians, driving through the lawn speeding along and then finally, once he came to a stop, I jumped out of the car and ran away.”
“He said the gentleman was driving erratically,” the spokesperson said, pausing: “Remember we’re doing 3 million rides a day. How do you prioritize that feedback and how do you think about it?”
Because the complaint was about erratic driving rather than being explicitly about violence, Uber’s safety screeners didn’t prioritize it.
“Anything that has a whiff of violence, ‘the driver assaulted me’, we suspend the person immediately, but where it’s something like bad driving … ” the spokesperson continued. “Because we get a lot of people saying bad driving and there’s two sides to that and sometimes, it’s not fair to deactivate them or not give them a warning.”
This complaint “fell into that back bucket”.
Uber doesn’t immediately deactivate drivers for erratic driving because of the volume of complaints.
“The reason we do that, just to be clear, is because with something like bad driving, we’re not going to take away someone’s ability to earn a living without talking to them first,” the spokesperson said.
So, had they reached out to the shooter after receiving the complaint?
“We had not gotten around to doing that, no,” the spokesperson said, before asking not to be quoted by name.
Dalton passed a background check and became a driver on 25 January. He had given about 100 rides.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said Uber is cooperating with law enforcement officials, and he believes the company will “help us fill in some timeline gaps”.
Investigators are particularly interested in communication between Dalton and Uber, as well as customers he might have driven, the sheriff said.
Police have not provided a motive. The victims had no apparent connection to the gunman or to each other.
The attacks began Saturday evening outside the Meadows apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County, where a woman was shot multiple times.
A little more than four hours later and 15 miles away, a father and his 17-year-old son were fatally shot while looking at cars at a car dealership.
Fifteen minutes after that, five people were gunned down in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Four of them died.
Uber prohibits passengers and drivers from possessing guns of any kind in a vehicle. Anyone found to be in violation of the policy may be prohibited from using or driving for the service.