When Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene of the alleged crime, Travis Schriever Smith, a 36-year-old resident of Rockne Lane in Palm Coast, was on the ground, on top of a 47-year-old man and Lyft driver. A deputy told him to desist. He wouldn’t. The deputy took out his Taser and pointed its laser-red dot at Smith.
“You ready for him?” Smith told the deputy, referring to the Lyft driver, before submitting to handcuffs. He would soon be arrested and charged with battery and felony child abuse. He’d been upset by a newly installed transparent partition separating the driver’s compartment from the back seat.
According to the driver’s account to deputies, the driver was providing a ride to Smith and another man and his 7-year-old child. They had started in Flagler Beach and were headed to Smith’s home in the R-Section. As the man drove, Smith “asked him about the partition in the vehicle, and became upset, attacking him by grabbing him in a chokehold,” according to Smith’s arrest report.
The plastic shields have been standard in taxis in many areas of the country for years. But Lyft a few weeks ago instructed its drivers on how to install partitions in cars as safety measures to limit the spread of covid-19 , the respiratory illness that’s killed more than 7,000 Floridians and 11 Flagler County residents so far. The drivers must pay for the partitions through Lyft’s store.
Lyft also requires its drivers and passengers to wear face masks, as the driver did (though the riders did not). “Earlier this month, Lyft began providing partitions to frequent drivers, as well as those in our Express Drive rental program,” Lyft states in an explanatory page about the partitions, with a video on how to install them. The partitions are at face level and don’t block out sounds.
“Our community is counting on us to put their health and safety first,” Angie Westbrock, a company vice president who heads Lyft’s covid-19 Response Task Force, is quoted as saying in the explanatory page. “By prioritizing the wellbeing of our drivers, our entire community gains extra peace of mind. We’re setting the bar for health and safety in rideshare and will continue to expand our programs and products to continue raising that bar.”
The Lyft driver was not using a specifically Lyft-issued separator, but as he described it in footage from his own dashcam, he acquired the materials from eBay and installed them. The separator looked more filmy than plexiglass.
The driver provided deputies video of the confrontation from an interior-facing dash cam. (See the video below.)
In the footage, Smith is sitting back in the backseat, the driver is driving. Then Smith starts asking the driver about the partition, repeatedly questioning him about how he installed it. Smith describes seeing similar set-ups, then, for no particular reason, calls the driver a liar, and again questions him about the partition: “How did you get this?”
The driver turns on an inside light and wonders about a noise he’s hearing, asking if a back door had been opened. Smith covers up the inside light with his hand.
They ride on, the men in the backseat exchange a few unintelligible words, then suddenly Smith is seen ripping the partition off, unprovoked, and grabbing the driver around the throat. The other man in the backseat appeared to know what was coming and opens the door to get out with his son, who starts crying.
According to his arrest report, Smith ripped the partition down and started to attack the Palm Coast-based driver on the right side of his face with a closed fist. The vehicle swerved as Smith placed the driver in a chokehold, causing the vehicle almost to crash and go across the median on belle Terre Parkway. At that point both Smith and the driver got out and continued fighting, according to the report–and Smith allegedly spat on the driver. (A deputy observed remnants of spit under the driver’s eye.)
The video shows Smith briefly slapping or flailing at the driver once outside, then running off. The driver checks the car, tells someone to “call the cops,” as vehicles are stopped on Belle Terre. The last frame shows Smith again approaching the driver on the road.
The video “correlated with all events that he stated to me,” the deputy’s report indicates, referring to the driver, who had injuries to the right side of his forehead.
Smith gave deputies a different account. He said the driver had been driving recklessly, blowing through red lights. He felt his life was in danger, “so he attempted to subdue him after [the driver] ripped down the partition and was being verbally abusive to” Smith. But a deputy’s review of the video footage concluded that Smith, who was drunk, “was being dishonest.”
The 7 year old and his father were not involved in the incident, other than the father–in front of his child and loud enough to be recorded by the video–goads Smith on, using an expletive against the driver. The child was visibly upset and crying when deputies were on the scene, saying, “I just want to go to sleep.” Because of the child’s presence in the car and the child’s endangerment, Smith was charged with child abuse, a third-degree felony.
Father and child were visiting Smith from Maine. Since Smith was being taken to jail, a deputy asked Smith to give the father and his child access to Smith’s home. “Go fuck yourselves,” Smith replied, refusing to provide a key. A deputy took the father and his child to the Hampton Inn. Smith was booked at the jail on a misdemeanor battery charge and the child abuse charge, and was released on $7,500 bond hours later.
There is a price to pay living in a red state. What a useless coward I will never forget that face specially also for the child abusive exposure.
What a lowlife idiot?! Please tell me he’ll be charged with a felony?
Crazy World says
Out hours later (to do it again). What ever happened to lock him up & throw away the key?
Looks like the two male adult passengers were drunk, trying to figure out a way to get ” a free ride” by starting an altercation and then got swept up in their own idiocy. I hope the driver’s okay and that the child will be placed in the care and supervision of someone who is capable of caring for him properly.
What an idiot. I can’t believe his actions amounted to only a misdemeanor battery charge. He could have caused serious injury or death.
How insane has this world gotten? Beating up and trying to strangle a Lyft driver? Poor guy is/was just trying to make a buck hauling some whacked out drunk home from another night of Covid spreading. Not calling Smith a drunk but I am sure that the driver has seen his share of less than sober riders.
If anything, the deputies under-charged that Smith character. Based on the comment Smith made to his buddy about how ‘shit is gonna get real at the stoplight’ and his follow-up actions once reaching that stoplight, a case could probably be made for attempted murder. Applying a strangle hold to the driver of a vehicle endangered everyone in the vehicle.
Comments will be made about how these ride share drivers need to be careful about who they let into the car. Heck, this guy started out okay and then went bananas, how was the driver to know he was a whack-a-nut? Should we start putting big labels on people to identify them as ‘less than desirable’? I think that went out with the Scarlett Letter.
Mr. Smith needs some serious help for his anger issues. No mention of whether drugs or alcohol were involved but if they were other help would be needed.
He was clearly wasted. But who cares. He should have been thrown in jail overnight.
His buddy is a gem too. Brings his kid out drinking with them. The kid said he was tired.
Poor Lyft Driver should press charges.
@ Denali. Yes there should be a list…..Smith should be registered as a “No Go” and banned from riding in any Lyft, Uber, taxi, or any other form of public transportation. His photo should hang their offices.
White Bronco says
Wow. I highly suggest everyone watch this video. It’s downright disturbing. Take care and be aware of your neighbors, and your connection to the public around you. Endear their efforts. It’s important we look out for each other. Times are strange to say the least. Love one another. Safely, kindly, and passionately. We are all in the same scenario, and all know kindness. Show it always. Let no other Outer influence ever Change that.
The Real White Bronco says
who are you?
im the real white bronco buddy
Edith Campins says
Disgusting behavior. The authorities need to look further into the child’s living conditions. Where is the child’ mother?
I hope his employers is made aware of this incident.
White Bronco says
2 Words: White Privilege
The Real White Bronco says
whats your beef?
Stop it says
Wonder what would’ve happened to the perpetrator if he’d been black or brown? I’m thinking he’d still be in jail with much harsher charges as is often the case when blacks commit the same crime as did a white person.
Kinda puts aside the white supremacist claim that people of color commit all the crimes. No, they’re disproportionately over represented in prisons often due to this bias.
This asshole needs to lose his job, if he even has one. He should not have been released from jail. I hope there will be additional charges against him for deliberately trying to expose the driver to coronavirus by spitting on him. A piece of shit like that who was out somewhere getting drunk, without a mask is a prime candidate for Covid. I feel sorry for the Lyft driver being abused while just trying to do his job.
Bail is way too low around here. They should check bail requirements in other states. It’s a shame. Pay about 10% of bail and your free to go.
All I can render up out of the thought bank is mentally ill psycho with anger issues. This is what you get PC.
After watching the video its near unbelievable then the classic spin to the story gets shot down because of it. This guys not mentally ill Hes stupid. At least his alleged friend has a vacation story to tell. Feel bad for the kid. One for what he witnessed and two to have a Father that hangs out with idiots. SMH only in PC
So I guess now all Lyft and Uber drivers will be required to equipped their cars with thick heavy plexiglass and reinforcement bars like the police cars have to keep the criminals from attacking the driver. What has happened to this world? Too many people with brains that have been cooked with drugs. This guy is one useless wacko who should have been charged with a greater crime. SMH
Stupid Is What Stupid Does says
Now this Lyft driver is going to pack a weapon in the case this happens again. He might injure someone for the rightful fear that someone is doing something nefarious in his vehicle. Ridiculous.
Smith is a TOOL. Nearly gets them all killed. The 7-year old boy and father were visiting from Maine. The boy said he wanted to go to sleep, as it was past midnight. The officer asks Smith for a key to his place. Smith tells them all to go F-themselves. Yeah, Smith, can’t say he’s much of a human.
A. J. says
Thank God no one was killed. Taxi drivers please be careful. Smith got a slap on the wrist from whst I understand. Will probably do the same act again. Had Smith been a Black, the outcome would be daedly just saying.
This is precisely why I am not currently driving for Lyft/Uber. All it took was one weekend putting up with people screaming at me for being required to wear a mask in my car. Lyft/Uber platforms CLEARLY state the Covid-19 guidelines and rules for drivers and riders. Riders have to agree to following the rules before they can even request a ride. So when people play dumb and say they didn’t know the rules going in, they are lying. What the heck is wrong with people??!! For some reason all the idiots in the world suddenly think they have free license to attack anyone who disagrees with their twisted view of the world. This country has devolved into a chaotic mess….