Lyft driver says customer stole his car

Stolen car small obstacle compared to what Jesse Williams has already overcome

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Lyft driver said his car was stolen by a customer while he was on the job last week. 

News4Jax had interviewed the man in the past, but for a different story. Jesse Williams wasn’t expected to survive an accident in 2007 when he was kicked in the head by a horse at a rodeo event in Georgia. He was told he would never walk or talk again, but he’s miraculously doing both of those, as well as driving and working as a Lyft driver. 

Williams told News4Jax that about 1:30 a.m. May 8, he stopped at the Speedway gas station on Lane Avenue South near Interstate 10 to get gas. 

His passenger asked Williams if, when he went inside to pay for the gas, he would also pick him up a cigar and Williams said he told the man, "Sure."

“I looked over my shoulder and see the car pulling out of the Speedway,” Williams said. 

He said that was the last time he saw his car. 

Williams quickly contacted police to get the car listed as stolen. He said his brand new $400 iPhone was also inside the car. The passenger spent $50 on his Cash app, but he said his bank reimbursed him for that. 

His car is a charcoal gray 2015 Toyota Corolla. The license plate number is KMVL43. He said the car has a handicapped sign and a college graduation tassel hanging in the front. Williams graduated just last year, which was a big accomplishment for him after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2007.

Life hasn’t been easy for Williams. He said his family was told he might not even survive the 2007 accident, but he is beating all odds. When News4Jax interviewed him more than a decade ago, he was in a wheelchair, hoping to one day walk. And today, he is walking, talking and doing even more than he ever imagined. 

His car being stolen is definitely an obstacle, but a small one compared to what he’s already overcome. 

“It’s definitely a lifestyle change because I am an 'on the go'-type person,” Williams said. “No one who steals a car thinks of how it affects that person and it has greatly affected me.”

Williams said that Lyft told him it can’t help him and that his insurance company, Geico, wouldn’t pay for his rental car because he was using his car as a work car at the time. He’s waiting to find out if Geico will help him with the overall cost of the stolen car. He said, if not, he plans to get an attorney. 

Williams said Lyft called him late Thursday afternoon and told him it would provide him with free rides.

Soon after, a Lyft spokeswoman sent News4Jax the following statement:

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we recognize how terrifying this must have been. We have been in touch with the driver to offer support and have permanently banned the rider from our community. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with an investigation." 

Williams is asking the community to be on the lookout for his car. He asks anyone with information to call him at 904-238-4694.