Lyft driver strangled by passenger with his own seatbelt

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – A harrowing incident involving a Lyft driver, who was allegedly choked with his own seatbelt by a passenger, has sparked a call for policy changes within the ride-sharing company. Kehinde Ayoola, the victim of the assault, fears he may never feel safe driving again, let alone return to his job as a ride-share driver.

Ayoola was transporting the passenger, identified as Ramiro Vella, in Harris County, Texas. Vella has since been charged with Aggravated Assault in connection with the attack. The incident unfolded when Ayoola picked up Vella from a hospital, where the driver noticed the passenger acting strangely in the company of three hospital staff members.

Shortly after entering Ayoola’s vehicle, Vella began speaking to himself and beating his chest. He then moved to the seat directly behind Ayoola, where he used the driver’s seatbelt to choke him. Ayoola was driving at 65 mph on Highway 290 at the time of the assault.

In a desperate attempt to save his own life, Ayoola tried to put his fingers between his neck and the seatbelt. Despite his injuries, he managed to unfasten his seatbelt, only for Vella to put him in another chokehold using his arm. Ayoola eventually pulled over, at which point Vella kicked out the back window and caused further damage to the vehicle.

Vella subsequently fled the scene, attempting to enter a nearby house. The homeowner called 911, leading to Vella’s arrest. Following the incident, Ayoola expressed his hope that ride-sharing services will review their policies, particularly regarding the pickup of hospital-ordered passengers.