Uber driver charged in hammer attack on passenger

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A driver for ride-sharing company Uber is accused of striking a passenger in the head with a hammer during a dispute over the route he was taking, the San Francisco District Attorney's office said Friday.

Patrick Karajah, 26, picked up three people from a bar around 2 a.m. Tuesday and, while driving the passengers to their destination, he got into an argument with one of the passengers who questioned the route he was taking, according to court documents obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The documents said that Karajah, who was driving for the basic UberX service, forced the passengers out of his car in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. Once the victim was out of the car, Karajah allegedly struck him on the side of his head with a hammer and drove away.

The victim suffered facial fracture and trauma to the head, and was taken to the hospital.

Karajah was arrested at his home in Pacifica.

He pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury.

Uber said in a statement that the company has suspended Karajah's account and was prepared to assist authorities in any investigation.

"Safety is Uber's No. 1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," the statement said.

A call to Karajah's home went unanswered Friday evening.

His case comes the same week the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles threatened ride-sharing companies Uber, Lyft and Sidecar with legal action over how they screen drivers, charge passengers, among other business practices.

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