PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — An Uber driver spoke to Action News about Tuesday morning’s attack, robbery and carjacking, in which he was seriously injured.
“I could be dead now,” said Essam Zarkli. “I am 65 years old. Do you think I can take a beating like that?”
As Zarkli left the hospital, he described the moment he said teenage passengers had attacked him in his Uber.
It happened around 2:30 am
Zarkli said he picked up the passengers in North Philadelphia, but one of them hit him on the back of the head as he approached them at N. 50th and Westminster Ave. dropped off in West Philadelphia.
“All of a sudden, just boom… hit me on the back right there. i lost it The other two came out of the car. One opened the door, dragged me to the floor and started hitting me everywhere with their shoes, their hands and things because they couldn’t find the car key. But they managed to find my wallet. They stole my wallet and then ran away,” Zarkli said.
As they pulled away in his Toyota Rav 4, Zarkli said he couldn’t call 911 through the Uber app, so he called the normal way.
The police spotted an SUV and followed it to 32nd and Mantua.
Officials said two people got out while another person drove on.
“And officers from the 16th Precinct tailed these two suspects on foot for about two blocks. One of the officers actually had to chase the suspects over a chain link fence,” Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
Officials said they arrested a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old and found the SUV at 41st and Parrish a short time later. By that time, the other two suspects had already disappeared.
Zarkli said he will still drive for Uber but has a long road to recovery ahead of him.
“They operated on my nose for two hours and also did all these MRIs,” he said. “After the swelling goes down, there may be another operation on the bone here because you can’t even touch it.”
Investigators said they were still working to gather more leads in hopes of catching the other two suspects.
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https://6abc.com/uber-driver-robbed-attacked-beaten-rideshare-attack/12270803/ Uber driver attacked: 2 teens arrested after beating, robbery in West Philadelphia