DES MOINES, Iowa — Less than 20 days on the job, a metro Uber driver found himself surrounded by police and his hands in the air.
Michael Street is thankful to be alive and looks at life in a different light. “It could have gotten uglier than it was. I`m thankful to be here today,” he said.
Street was Ubering through the metro when he received his first pickup of the day shortly after 2:30 p.m. Sunday near University Avenue and 14th Place. Four juveniles entered his car. “The front passenger had the cockaburs all over his sweatpants and I could smell sweat,” said Street.
Just before the pickup, Des Moines police received a call of shots fired in the area. Street noticed police cars nearby but didn`t want to pass judgement on his Uber customers. “I asked these guys ‘are you running from these cops?’ And they said ‘just get us to where we are going.'” Street, who has been an Uber driver for less than three weeks, continued driving.
“Witnesses gave us some really good descriptions of a group of juveniles that had run from the area between houses. One later gave us a description of a vehicle they saw these juveniles getting into,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Street’s Uber app shows he made it less than a block before police stopped him at the corner of 14th Place and University Avenue. “Guns were definitely drawn and I was ordered to raise my hands,” said Street.
Despite the chaos, Street said he was able to remain calm, until he said one of the juveniles began to reach for a pack with a handgun. He said, “That`s when I jumped out of my truck and I said ‘he`s reaching for a weapon,’ and thank God they knew and sensed I was just the Uber driver.”
Police said the juvenile with the handgun was arrested, but it was not used in the nearby shooting. Parizek said, “They were somehow involved in this incident, some kind of dispute, and they fired a gunshot and then called an Uber to get away. Not a real good plan.”
It’s a plan Street is thankful to have survived. “I immediately went home and hugged my grandson. That was the only thing on my mind at the time.”
No one was injured in the shooting. Police currently do not have enough evidence to connect any of the juveniles to the shooting but are still investigating.
Street took the rest of Sunday off but was back behind the wheel the next day.