This Week In Rideshare: Wrongful Death, Rider Verification, and Blocked Traffic.

3 min readApr 18, 2024

$44 million awarded, riders get checked, and robotaxis get confused. LegalRideshare breaks it down.



The family of a murdered Lyft driver has been rewarded $44 million. Chicago Sun Times reported:

Kristian Philpotts, 29, accepted a request for a ride in Urbana on Jan. 12, 2022. During the ride, Philpotts was shot by the passenger, Tyjohn Williams of Champaign, according to criminal charges.

Williams, now 18, is accused of requesting the ride using his mother’s account. He allegedly got inside the vehicle with two other people, pulled out a gun and shot Philpotts in the back. Philpotts died shortly after.

Champaign County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin W. Dyer awarded the family $44,724,193 at a hearing on damages Friday. The family now will seek to collect on that award from Williams and his mother.

“Criminals must be held accountable when they destroy lives, families and communities,” said attorney Bryant Greening, of LegalRideshare LLC. “KP and his family suffered an unimaginable loss. While this award does not bring KP back, it does serve as a source of justice.”


Riders will now be “verified” in 12 cities, including Chicago. ABC 7 Chicago reported:

Riders will now be “verified” to make sure they are who they claim to be. Uber said this is in response to security and safety concerns that drivers have in Chicago and other cities.

Uber says most people will automatically get verified without doing a thing. Uber will cross reference personal information that they already have in your account, no ID required. That completes the verification process for the vast majority of people.

The verification process is a pilot program. It will not perform criminal background checks on riders.


Traffic cones caused confusion for robotaxis. TechCrunch reported:

Six Waymo robotaxis blocked traffic moving onto the Potrero Avenue 101 on-ramp in San Francisco on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., according to video of the incident posted to Reddit and confirmation from Waymo.

After hitting the road closure, the first Waymo vehicle in the lineup then pulled over out of the traffic lane that was blocked by cones, followed by six other Waymo robotaxis. Human-driven cars were then stuck behind some of the robotaxis; a video posted online shows fed-up drivers getting out of their cars to physically move the cones out of the way so they could pass both the road closure and the stalled Waymos.

It’s not the first time Waymo vehicles have caused a road blockage, but this is the first documented incident involving a freeway.

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