Walmart sued after teen steals machete and kills her Uber driver
Walmart sued after teen steals machete and kills her Uber driver published by nherting
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Posted on 2017-06-27
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There has been a lot of media coverage about Uber driver misdeeds—drunk driving, drivers stealing from their passengers, and even cases of drivers murdering and raping customers. But Uber drivers can also be victims of their passengers.
The family of an Uber driver murdered on the job in Illinois is taking Walmart to court. In a Cook County lawsuit, (PDF) the family of driver Grant T. Nelson alleges that the retail giant was negligent when it allowed the murder suspect to steal a machete and a knife before walking past security personnel without being stopped. That was right before she hailed an Uber outside the Skokie store at 3am on May 30.
Moments after picking up the alleged thief—a 16-year-old girl named Eliza Wasni—police say the 37-year-old Nelson was stabbed to death by Wasni after exiting the Walmart parking lot.
"We feel strongly that Walmart had an obligation to stop this young person at three in the morning who had been walking around in their store with an 18-inch machete and five-inch hunting knife and didn't purchase them and... no one did anything to stop her," Nelson's family attorney, Robert Bingle, said.
According to the suit, "As Eliza Wasni was exiting the store with the machete and knife she had not purchased, she was not stopped, questioned in any way, or asked to show a receipt by an employee and/or agent of Walmart." The suit says that "after exiting the store, Eliza Wasni called for an Uber ride and got into an Uber vehicle driven by Grant T. Nelson."
The suit claims that "Wasni took a machete and knife from the display counter where they were located and walked around the store with the machete and knife in her hands."
Enlarge / Eliza Wasni, 16, has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder in connection to the death of 34-year-old Uber driver Grant T. Nelson. Police and Nelson's family say the girl stole a machete and knife from an Illinois Walmart and then killed her Uber driver following the shoplifting on May 30.
It is unclear whether Walmart employees and their security staff were aware that the girl had the weapons when she left the store. Walmart has preserved surveillance footage that might shed more light on the matter, a spokeswoman for Bingle told Ars.
Walmart offered its condolences, declined to comment on the "specifics" of the allegations, and defended its workers.
"We continue offering our deepest condolences to Mr. Nelson's family for their loss. Out of respect for everyone involved, we believe it's not appropriate to discuss the specifics of this matter, but we can say that we believe our associates acted properly, including alerting third-party security to a possible shoplifting incident," Walmart said in a statement."We will respond appropriately with the court."
The girl has been charged with murder as an adult in connection to Nelson's death, and she remains jailed without bail.
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