Former Uber driver charged in death of 6-year-old girl

Uber logo
A former Uber driver has been charged in relation to the death of a 6-year-old girl who was struck in a crosswalk in San Francisco last year. Here, the Uber logo is displayed on the window of one of its cars.
(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

A former Uber driver whose car struck and killed a 6-year-old girl as she walked on a San Francisco crosswalk faces a manslaughter charge, authorities said Tuesday.

Syed Muzaffar, 58, surrendered last week and will be arraigned Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter, said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

Muzaffar failed to yield while turning and crashed into pedestrians in the city’s Tenderloin district on Dec. 31, 2013, Stillman said.

Muzaffar’s car struck and killed Sofia Liu, 6, who was walking with her 5-year-old brother and her mother, Huan Kang, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed in January against Muzaffar and Uber.


At the time of the 8 p.m. incident, Muzaffar was logged into the Uber driver’s app but did not have passengers in his car, according to the lawsuit.

The driver’s attorney, John Hamasaki, told the Los Angeles Times that there’s no evidence Muzaffar was distracted by phone calls, text messages or the Uber phone app.

“Mr. Muzaffar was driving on New Year’s Eve to work and support his family,” said Hamasaki, adding that the former driver is a father of four. “This incident has devastated Mr. Muzaffar, and he continues to grieve with the Liu family.”

On Tuesday, Los Angeles and San Francisco district attorneys filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Uber, alleging the company fails to perform sufficient background checks on its drivers.


Calling the ride-sharing app “safe” and “part of the transportation ecosystem” in California, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said that company officials would work with district attorneys to tackle their concerns.

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