TLC: Driver Who Killed Man on UES Works for Uber [Updated]

The cab driver who hit two pedestrians on the Upper East Side last weekend, killing 27-year-old Wesley Mensing, was driving a vehicle affiliated with an Uber base, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Aliou Diallo was ticketed for unlicensed operation after the Saturday afternoon crash, which occurred as Mensing and 30-year-old Erin Sauchelli were crossing E. 62nd Street at Lexington Avenue, according to NYPD. He was not charged with a crime by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Though Diallo was cited for unlicensed driving, his hack license “appears to have been current” at the time of the crash, said TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg, responding to a Streetsblog query. “We’re reviewing the circumstances at this time,” Fromberg told Streetsblog via email.

Fromberg said Diallo’s hack license has been suspended while the TLC “investigate[s] the circumstances surrounding the status of his NYS license.”

The Mercedes SUV Diallo was driving operates out of Schmecken, one of Uber’s NYC hubs, according to Fromberg. It is unknown if Diallo was picking up or transporting Uber customers when he struck Mensing and Sauchelli.

As Uber expands in New York and other markets, it remains unclear to what extent the company can be held liable for the actions of its employees. Uber is currently attempting to absolve itself of responsibility for a crash in San Francisco, where a year ago one of the company’s drivers ran over a family of three, killing 6-year-old Sofia Liu.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

Update: Uber sent us a statement, which appears in full below. Diallo’s ticket was dismissed this morning by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those involved in this tragic accident. We are providing the NYPD all information that can assist in their investigation.

Here is what we know at this time:

  • The driver is affiliated with Uber NYC through our Schmecken base as an UberBLACK partner.
  • The driver is commercially licensed by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and holds a commercial insurance policy in line with TLC and NY DMV requirements. According to the TLC’s data on license suspensions and revocations, the driver’s licensing is valid and active.
  • The driver remained at the scene of the accident to assist authorities in their investigation. He was not charged with a criminal offense or taken into custody. As the investigation continues, the driver’s access to the Uber platform has been suspended.
  • The driver had accepted a trip and was en route to pick up his customers at the time of the accident and he did not have any passengers in the car. He has completed 1,296 trips on the Uber platform and has a 4.86 out of 5 star rating.

Upon learning of the accident through media on January 3, 2015, Uber representatives immediately reached out to the NYPD to offer assistance.

Correction: The headline and first and third paragraphs of this story were edited after publication to reflect uncertainty about the status of the driver’s license at the time of the crash that killed Wesley Mensing. The headline originally said the driver did not have a valid license.

  • We have known for the last 20 years that interaction with a phone promotes distraction that lingers for five minutes after the phone has been put down.

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Erin Sauchelli, who was seriously injured by an Uber driver while walking in Manhattan, has filed a lawsuit claiming the app Uber drivers use to respond to hails causes driver distraction in violation of New York State law. The driver, Aliou Diallo, killed Sauchelli’s boyfriend, Wesley Manning, in the collision, but he remains in good standing with […]