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Passenger claims Uber driver pulled knife

St. Augustine police charge driver with battery

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – An Uber driver was arrested and charged with battery after a passenger claimed the man pushed him to the ground and pulled a knife on him last weekend, according to the St. Augustine Police Department. 

The victim and two friends said they were riding to an Airbnb in Ronald Patterson's car at the time -- about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. St. Augustine police said they responded to the reported assault at the intersection of Martin Luther King Avenue and Bridge Street.

Officers located Patterson by the tag number provided by the victim. When they made contact with Patterson at his home, police said, he confirmed pulling a pocket knife on the victim, and was arrested.

Patterson, 52, was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and has been released on $500 bond. According to the arrest report, Patterson told police he takes medication for bipolar disorder.

According to the arrest report, the trouble started after a door came open twice during the ride and Patterson told them they "couldn't mess with him."  They told the officer Patterson grabbed one of the passengers by his clothes, pulled him out of the car and threw him to the ground before pulling out the knife.

The report said Patterson admitted pulling a knife, but he did it to protect himself.

When News4Jax showed up at Patterson's front door Tuesday night to hear his side of the story, neither he nor the woman who was at the door wanted to talk.

Crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said this is a highly usual case because Patterson was already verified as an Uber driver.