A quick-thinking and alert 17-year-old girl risked her life and jumped out of a ride-share vehicle after she said the driver sprayed a mysterious mist in the air that made her sleepy. She was especially suspicious because moments before he was flirting aggressively, telling her if he was her age, he would want to date her.
Eziya Bowden’s pretty face is bruised with cuts and gashes after she tried to escape the backseat of a Lyft car after the man behind the wheel was demonstrating “suspicious behavior.” She called for the car through the app after a long shift at work at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
The North Carolina native said she was uncomfortable with the driver’s behavior, saying he was talking inappropriately to her, she said in an interview with WBTV.
“‘How many boys flirted with you?’ He said that right away,” she said. “‘Oh, you just look good. I would date you if you weren’t so young.’”
Moments after saying this he sprayed something in the air. After the fourth spray, she said she started feeling dizzy and warm, leaving Bowden to believe she was drugged.
“When I got in his car, it did smell like cigarettes, so when he sprayed one time, it was already like, ‘Oh, it no longer smelled like that.’ But for you to keep spraying it, then roll your windows up, like, I know it’s not about me being nervous or anything,” she said.
Bowden said she leaped out of the moving car— believing the move saved her life.
She said, “I was very scared, but then again, I was more so like I’d rather get out of this car than fall asleep in a car with this man I don’t really know.”
After she opened the car door, the young woman said she blacked out. Bowden said she remembers crying really hard and where she fell once leaping out of the car, a location a few miles from her home in Raleigh on 7300 Fox Road. For her, the experience has scarred her.
“I just looked down at the ground,” she said. “I looked behind me and I just jumped out. He didn’t stop when he noticed the door was open or he heard me crying or anything.”
At a certain point, Bowden said the young man did return and check on her, pretending to be a bystander. After a while, the driver called the police to come to tend to her medical needs, who took her to the emergency department to tend to her injuries.
The teen suffered no broken bones, ABC 11 reported.
A representative from Lyft said the driver who picked up Bowden and allegedly displayed the disturbing behavior is “deeply concerning.”
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior described is deeply concerning,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve been in touch with the rider’s family to offer our support, have removed the driver’s access to the Lyft platform, and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.”
After reports of the incident, officials at the company have removed his access to work for the app.
“I don’t think that’s stopping him from anything else. It doesn’t really bring peace to me at all. As us young girls, or even women, we have to be very aware and safe of our surroundings. Cancel your ride and wait. Wait for somebody ‘cause honestly, I would’ve waited for my friend,” Bowden said.
Bowden said even though Lyft has refunded Bowden for the trip, she does not believe she will be using Lyft or Uber in the future.
She also said she did not file criminal charges against the driver.