MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An 18-year-old is facing charges after he allegedly carjacked a Lyft driver at gunpoint and made her send him money on Cash App, Memphis Police say.
The victim shared her story with WREG but, due to safety concerns, we are not identifying her.
She said she was driving for Lyft around 8:30 Sunday night.
According to reports, during the ride, the customer, later identified as Tyrus Earnest, pointed a handgun at her and told her to pull over. Once she did, Earnest made her send him $100 on Cash App, police say. Then, he cocked the handgun, threatening to shoot her if she told anyone.
“I said ‘I just want to make it home to my kids. Please, let me just go,'” the woman said.
But before letting her go, she said he talked about himself and what he’s been through.
“Said that he wasn’t always like that,” she said. “He said he was held at gunpoint before. He was robbed and carjacked, and it traumatized him.”
The victim was told to exit her 2022 Nissan Kicks, and the suspect drove away.
MPD says they found the car in front of a home the next day. Officers spoke to Earnest, who told them the car belonged to him.
Earnest was taken into custody, where he admitted to the crime. He is being charged with carjacking, possession of a firearm/dangerous felony and aggravated robbery.
The woman said she’s never had any problems and has been driving Lyft for the last six years. The extra money helps her family stay afloat. She’s left too traumatized to continue, but is glad to be alive.
“That’s where I am grateful and thankful that I was able to walk away alive, but it seems like that’s when I break down more, thinking that I was lucky. Some people aren’t,” she said.
The woman said she will move on with her life and advises others to be cautious and vigilant when using a rideshare company.
In a statement, a spokesperson with Lyft said, “The behavior described is unacceptable and has no place in our community. The rider has been permanently removed from the Lyft platform. We have been in touch with the driver and we stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”