AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WJBF) — Cursing, racial slurs and erratic driving — it’s what Jovene Milligan says she and her daughter experienced during their UBER ride. The two were driving from Atlanta to Charleston on May 7 when their car broke down in a rural area of Aiken County. AAA towed their car. Due to COVID-19 restrictions with the company, they were unable to ride in the AAA tow truck to Columbia where their car was being towed. Milligan tells NewsChannel 6 they ordered an UBER, and it did not take long for she and her daughter to begin fearing for their lives.
“He tossed our bags in, and we got in the car,” Milligan explains. “Immediately, he began driving fast and swerving. I was nervous already.”
Milligan says the situation escalated when the driver began speaking with them about their ethnicity. Videos shared with NewsChannel 6 capture the driver, a white man, cursing and yelling racial slurs at the women, who are black.
“He said, ‘You guys must be West African.’ I said, ‘Yes we’re African. We’re queens.’ When I said that, that was it. That’s when he said, ‘No you’re not. No you’re not. You’re [expletive].’ He went off.”
Milligan says the driver repeatedly mentioned he had “violent tendencies.” She asked him to pull over and end the ride. He reportedly refused and continued with the 69-mile trip.
“That’s when the frantic part really set in.”
Milligan and her daughter immediately reported the incident to UBER when they were dropped off at their destination. They have been refunded for the trip, but the trauma they experienced still lingers.
“Thank God we made it there safely. I’ve been waking up crying every morning. If I didn’t travel with my daughter, she would have been alone.”
Milligan and her daughter have filed a report with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, where she says the driver began harassing them and driving erratically. They are also suing UBER and the driver.
“UBER has a contractual basis to provide safety for its clients,” Sean Wilson, Milligan’s attorney, explains. “We want to make sure that policies and procedures are in place for safety purposes.”
“That person should not be driving anyone else on the road,” Milligan adds.
An UBER spokesperson provided this statement to NewsChannel 6 in response to the incident:
“Everyone has a right to feel safe when using the uber platform, and what these riders experienced is extremely upsetting. we have a clear non-discrimination policy and we have removed this driver’s access to the app.”UBER spokesperson
Milligan says the incident was “the most traumatic experience of her life,’ and will never use a ride-share app again. She hopes the incident teaches others to be vigilant when using the service.
“Always share your ride with someone so they can know and trace you. Make sure your phones are fully charged.”