An UberX driver has been accused of hitting a passenger on the head with a hammer in San Francisco, sources told the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.
Patrick Karajah pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
"The injuries are very serious," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. "The hammer went right around the eye."
The alleged assault occurred at 2 a.m. Tuesday after Karajah had a disagreement with one of the three passengers in his vehicle, according to sources citing court records.
The passenger questioned the route Karajah was taking, which sparked the disagreement, sources said. Karajah then pulled the vehicle over in the area of Alemany Boulevard and Ellesworth Avenue in San Francisco. Karajah then pulled out a hammer and started hitting the passenger on the head before fleeing the scene in the car, sources told NBC Bay Area.
The victim, a man suffered facial fracture and trauma to the head, was transported to a local hospital. Sources tell NBC Bay Area the man is still hospitalized.
Karajah was later arrested at his home in Pacifica.
Uber spokesperson Eva Behrend provided the following statement in response to the alleged attack:
"Safety is Uber's No. 1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver's account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation."
The alleged attack comes on the heels of the district attorney threatening legal action against Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Gascon sent the rideshare companies a letter this week questioning the legality of some pricing and calims of thorough background checks for drivers.
"If you're alleging you have the safest background system in the industry then you should," Gascon said. "We have evidence to indicate that's not the case."