In a tragic turn of events, an Uber driver lost his life in Texas when his passenger mistook their trip’s destination and responded with deadly force. The passenger, Phoebe D. Copas, believed she was being kidnapped and taken to Mexico, leading to the fatal shooting of her driver, Daniel Piedra Garcia.
Originally from Tompkinsville, Kentucky, the 48-year-old Copas was arrested on June 16, the day of the incident. After the death of Garcia, her charges escalated from aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury to murder.
The incident began when Copas, who was visiting her boyfriend in El Paso, boarded Garcia’s Uber. The sight of road signs indicating “Juarez, Mexico,” caused Copas to panic, and she shot Garcia. This caused the car to crash into a highway barrier on U.S. 54 South.
Copas didn’t alert the authorities or call for medical help immediately after the shooting. Instead, she first texted a picture of the wounded driver to her boyfriend, and then called for help.
When the police and first responders arrived at the scene, they found Garcia severely injured, bleeding heavily from his head. Despite efforts to save him, Garcia succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead a few days later.
According to the police investigation, there was no evidence to suggest that Garcia had any intention of kidnapping Copas or deviating from the agreed-upon route.
Following the incident, Uber issued a statement expressing its horror at the passenger’s actions and offering support to the victim’s family.
Daniel Piedra Garcia was the only earning member of his family. His wife, Ana Piedra, set up a GoFundMe to help cover hospital and funeral expenses. In her appeal, she mentioned the doctors’ futile efforts to save her husband and their decision to take him off life support.
Garcia’s niece, Didi Lopez, defended her uncle, insisting that he was not a criminal or kidnapper, but a hardworking man.
A court hearing has been set to review Copas’s charges and increased bond, from $1 million to $1.5 million.