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Uber Driver Who Careened Into Store, Injuring Three, Lacked a Valid License

5:19 PM EDT on July 31, 2018

The driver of the black Lincoln SUV pictured here has been charged. Image: Tipster, used with permission

The Uber driver who yesterday jumped the curb on Sixth Avenue, crashed into a storefront, and injured two pedestrians and a passenger was driving without a valid license, according to NYPD.

Police arrested Amir Saleemi, 43, and charged him with "aggravated unlicensed operation," a misdemeanor. Additionally, Uber suspended Saleemi's access to its app so the company could "look into" the incident.

It's not clear why Saleemi's license was invalid, but the arrest by NYPD indicates a breakdown in the system that is supposed to keep unlicensed drivers from using the Uber app.

Uber's application shuts out drivers who are not listed on the Taxi and Limousine Commission's database of eligible drivers. As of 5 p.m. this afternoon, however, Saleemi was still on the list.

Uber's standard practice is to suspend drivers who are involved in a traffic collision, a company spokesperson said.

Saleemi was headed northbound on Sixth Avenue at around 2:30 p.m. yesterday when another driver attempted to merge left into his lane, police said. Saleemi struck the other vehicle, then swerved across the bike lane and onto the sidewalk, striking two pedestrians.

Three people -- including a passenger in Saleemi's car -- were injured in the collision, not four as initially reported by NYPD.

Streetsblog has reached out to TLC for comment on how Saleemi ended up behind the wheel of an agency-licensed vehicle. We'll update this story as soon as we hear back.

Update (8/1/18): Saleemi's TLC license was tied to his driver's license, which was issued by the state of New Jersey. The "aggravated unlicensed operation" charge was due to outstanding debts to New York State, which did not impact his New Jersey license, a TLC spokesperson said. The agency suspended Saleemi's TLC license last night.

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