Former Uber Driver Charged With Manslaughter

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Muzaffar will not be charged for felony vehicular manslaughter.

SAN FRANCISCO—Syed Muzaffar, formerly an Uber driver, has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for a crash that killed a 6-year-old girl.

At 8 p.m. on December 31, 2013, Sofia Liu was killed while crossing Polk Street in a crosswalk near Civic Center. Walking with her mother and younger brother, the 6-year-old was struck and killed by a vehicle that failed to yield to them.

Muzaffar, making a right turn from westbound Ellis Street onto northbound Polk Street hit the trio as they crossed together. Though injured, Sofia’s mother and brother survived.

Muzaffar will not be charged for felony vehicular manslaughter.
Muzaffar will not be charged for felony vehicular manslaughter.

On December 4, Muzaffar surrendered to authorities, posting a $50,000 bail. He isn’t being charged for felony vehicular manslaughter, as the investigation has not revealed the required gross negligence to bring felony charges.

Sofia’s family sued Uber in January 2014, claiming that the driver was using the company’s UberX application at the time of the crash. Muzaffar’s attorney has asserted that he was between fares immediately preceding the crash.

Uber has maintained that Muzaffar was never an “employee, agent, joint venture or partner of Uber.” The company claims that when he struck and killed Liu, Muzaffar had no reason to be using his smartphone in his capacity as a chauffeur.

The 57-year-old is set to appear at San Francisco’s Hall of Justice on Wednesday, December 10.

By Joseph Wilhelm