Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 9th, 2016 at 2:15 pm
Roadway assaults between motor vehicle operators and people on bikes and foot happen all the time. They usually don’t end well. This one did. At least for the victim.
On August 27th, Portland resident Paul Jeffery and his friends were trying to cross SE Division near 48th when he was assaulted by a woman driving a car. Jeffery says that about mid-way across the street the woman, “swerved around me close enough that my hand come into contact with the passenger side mirror.”
After that close call he says the woman — who is employed by Uber — turned around and approached him. The two had a heated back-and-forth about what happened and then, Jeffery says, the woman accosted him. She walked up to him, yelled loudly, then tore the $400 prescription glasses off his face, crushed them to pieces, threw them into the street, got back in her car and drove away (despite Jeffery and his friends sitting on her hood to prevent her from leaving).
Jeffery, who goes by “PJ”, happens to be a citizen activist (we published a ride-along with him in 2012) who helped lead the community response to the death of Fallon Smart and spoke at a neighborhood panel on road safety earlier this week. Smart is the 15-year-old who was brutally run down and killed just a few blocks away by a man who was going twice the speed limit.
Given that, you can imagine how heated his words were with this woman whose dangerous driving nearly cost him his life. However, while Jeffery doesn’t deny using strong language during the exchange, he contends that unlike the woman in the car, he never got physical. He also denies causing any damage to the woman’s car, despite her assertions otherwise.
After the incident Jeffery immediately call the Portland Police and a few minutes later gave his statement to Officer David Arnold.
The next morning Jeffery emailed Uber to report their driver. He also shared several photos with them to serve as evidence of his story (a portrait of the driver, her Uber decal, the lack of damage to her mirror, and his broken glasses).
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This woman just assaulted me and broke my glasses after I tried to stop her from running me over. pic.twitter.com/Lto6Op9h2j
— StopDeKindermoord PJ (@__P__J) August 28, 2016
“I will be pressing charges against her,” he wrote, “and I require your cooperation to discover her name, and to remove her from your list of drivers.” (The police officer couldn’t immediately find the driver’s name because her car had temporary tags.)
Jeffery wanted to make sure the woman never drove for Uber again (or drove anywhere for that matter, “until she understands how dangerous her behavior is”). He also wanted to be compensated for his wrecked glasses.
Meanwhile, Jeffery posted about the incident on Twitter (he uses the platform frequently). He shared photos of the woman and asked the community to help him find her. Sure enough, a few hours after posting the information, Jeffery connected with someone who found the woman’s Facebook.
Her name is Chrissy Shoaff and she boasted about the incident to her friends.
“I ripped an old man’s glasses in half today,” she wrote. “I bet he didn’t see it coming.”
Here are the screenshots:
With her identity known, Jeffery grabbed screenshots of her Facebook account and sent them to Officer Arnold.
“He was really thankful [for the screenshots],” Jeffery shared with us via email. It was a strong lead. Officer Arnold then met with Jeffery one more time to talk about the case and collect the broken glasses as evidence.
After meeting with Jeffery (now eight days after the incident), Officer Arnold arrested Shoaff. She was charged with Criminal Mischief and Harassment.
Jeffery is now awaiting a court date. He plans to testify and feels confident that his case is strong. And Shoaff will have to pay for his glasses through the victim compensation program.
Shoaff, who bragged on Facebook that Jeffery “didn’t see that coming” before assaulting him, has taken her page down.
Jeffery says it’s a lesson that bragging about illegal behavior on the Internet is not a good idea. “And I bet she didn’t see this arrest coming,” he added.
UPDATE, 4:50pm: We’ve been contacted by Jon Isaacs, Uber’s public affairs manager for Oregon. He says Shoaff was immediately suspended and is permanently banned from driving for Uber.
Here’s his statement:
I want to clarify that Ms. Shoaff was not an employee of Uber. She is an independent Uber Driver-Partner. Driver-partners are not employees of Uber.
As soon as we received the incident report Ms. Shoaff was immediately suspended from accessing the Uber platform. She has since been permanently banned from driving on the Uber platform.
Driver, rider and pedestrian safety continue to be our top priority when supporting Uber driver-partners. We have a zero tolerance policy for any reckless or dangerous actions by drivers or riders.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org