Tourist recounts high-speed nightmare with now-banned Lyft driver

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A fun girls’ night out turned into a high-speed nightmare for sisters Jamie and Sarah.  

The women did not want their last names published in the story.   

“It was just the scariest moment of our lives,” Jamie said. “We were literally coming to terms with our death.” 

On May 26, they were ending a long day of sight-seeing on Broadway. They called a Lyft to head back to their AirBnB and were picked up by their driver, Joseph Richard, according to an arrest affidavit.  

“He said our names and we said ‘yes,'” Jamie told News 2’s Kim Wynne.  

Jamie says as soon as they put on their seatbelts, Richard sped off. 
“He drove 100 miles an hour the entire way,” she said. 

Jamie says he sped through construction zones and ignored traffic lights. 
“Going through red lights, going into oncoming traffic,” she said. The sisters begged to be let out, according to the affidavit.  

“‘Pull over, pull over, pull over,'” they screamed, according to Jamie. “He wasn’t pulling over. I was calling 911 at this point. My sister is screaming ‘help us, help us.'” 

Jamie says the driver started laughing. “He was smiling the entire time,” she said. “We thought he was either on drugs or had some type of mental thing going on.”  

When they got to their stop, Richard let them out but called them names, according to Jamie.  

“This is like real life GTA — like the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game,” she said, explaining that they did everything right, like checking the driver’s photo and license plate before they got in the car.  

“We did what we should have,” she said. “It’s not like we got into a car without looking.” 

MORE: Police: Lyft driver took passengers on wild, high-speed ride through Nashville

Richard has been charged with reckless endangerment and false imprisonment, according to police documents. 

Jamie says she’s still shaken but is thankful she’s still alive.  

“I never thought that we were going to live through that ride,” she said.  

Campbell Matthews, communications manager for Lyft, sent this statement to News 2: 

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft. The behavior described is deeply concerning and has no place on the Lyft platform. The driver has been permanently banned from the Lyft community and we have been in touch with the passengers to extend our support. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with an investigation.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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