Uber driver's assailant apologizes after video goes viral

A former Taco Bell executive says he is remorseful and wants to apologize to a Uber driver for attacking him in an incident that was captured by a dashboard camera video that went viral.

Benjamin Golden wants to privately meet with Uber driver Edward Caban to apologize and demonstrate his deep regret, his attorneys, Anita Kay and Courtney Pilchman, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Mr. Golden recognizes that despite his level of intoxication, he should have never slapped Mr. Caban and is extremely remorseful for his actions,” his attorneys said.

Golden, 32, of Newport Beach, was charged Tuesday with four misdemeanor counts of assault, battery, battery on a public transit employee with injury and assault on public transportation property in connection with Friday’s attack in Costa Mesa, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

He faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the charges.

Golden was a marketing manager for Taco Bell, but he is no longer an employee, the Irvine-based company said.

“Mr. Golden accepts full responsibility for his actions and understands the consequences that may occur as a result,” his attorneys said.

Golden’s statement comes after Caban filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court accusing Golden of assault, battery, negligence and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Caban said he continues to suffer emotional injury and distress from the attack. He is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

Caban said in the lawsuit that Golden’s conduct “was extreme and outrageous and beyond the bounds of what any person should reasonably have to endure.”

Caban posted a video of the incident to YouTube on Friday. The video has been viewed nearly 2 million times.

Golden was taken into custody Friday night near a shopping center in the 1800 block of Newport Boulevard, Costa Mesa police Sgt. Jerry Souza said.

Dashcam video shows Caban asking Golden to get out of the car after he appears to fall over in the backseat.

“You are too drunk to give me directions,” Caban said.

Golden responds, “I am giving you the directions right now.”

Caban tells Golden the trip must end. He tells Golden to get out of his car or he will call the police.

As Golden opens the car door, he can be seen turning around and striking Caban several times.

Caban told police that Golden repeatedly hit him and pulled his hair, so he responded by dousing him with pepper spray. He shared video of the incident with police.

In the lawsuit, Caban said he suffered physical injuries to his face and body.

After the attack, Uber said Golden was permanently banned from using the transit service.

Golden’s attorneys said the attack was an isolated incident.

“Mr. Golden has worked hard to live a life of compassion, respect and professionalism and understands the damage that this incident has done,” his attorneys said. “Moving forward, Mr. Golden will avail himself of all opportunities that will assist him in gaining insight and growth from this experience.”

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