A passenger who fled from a stopped Uber vehicle was struck and killed by a California Highway Patrol car on the 101 Freeway near Tarzana Monday morning.
The patrol vehicle was responding to a call made by the Uber driver about 3:30 a.m. that two male passengers were fighting in the back seat of his car, a California Highway Patrol spokesperson confirmed.
The driver, who wished to remain unidentified, told KNX radio he picked up two male friends in West Hollywood around 3 a.m. and was heading to drop them off in Topanga when the passengers began physically fighting.
One passenger sat in the front seat, while the other — later identified by Los Angeles County coroner’s officials as 30-year-old Danuka Silva of Northridge — sat in the back, the driver said.
“The guy in the back seat started escalating by choking him,” he told KNX. “I started to break them up, and then they started punching each other after I broke them up.”
The Uber driver stopped his Honda on the westbound side of the 101 Freeway near the Balboa Boulevard exit.
“I had to stop because it was distracting my driving and they were really trying to hurt each other — like really hurt each other,” he said.
As a traffic break was being run on the westbound 101, Silva apparently exited the Uber vehicle, jumped over the center divider and began running through the eastbound lanes, CHP said.
A CHP vehicle responding to the incident at an unknown speed struck the pedestrian, who was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
An officer inside the vehicle suffered minor abrasions to his left arm and was treated at the scene, according to the spokesperson.
CHP later said the officer is a 48-year-old Woodland Hills man, but the agency did not release his name.
The crash forced the closure of all the freeway's eastbound lanes between 3:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., officials said.
KTLA's Erika Martin and Nidia Becerra contributed to this report.