A man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a Lyft driver and damaging his vehicle following a dispute outside a Jurupa Valley bar earlier this month, authorities said.
The incident took place around 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 1 in the 5600 block of Mission Boulevard, just outside Fabio’s Bar and Night Club, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department police report released Thursday.
It began when the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Michael Trunko, requested a Lyft outside the bar. When the vehicle arrived, he asked the driver — Ye Lu — if he could put his equipment in the back seat.
A verbal altercation ensued over the items, at which point Lu declined to give him a ride, the police report stated.
Lu told KTLA in an interview Thursday that when he pulled up, it was clear that the man had too many items for the size of his car.
But as Lu tried to drive away, Trunko began yelling at the driver, saying it was his job to transport him or he could get fired, according to the report.
That was when the suspect allegedly attacked Lu.
The driver alleges that Trunko grabbed his cellphone from the inside the car and dropped it on the ground, then assaulted him.
Lu told a deputy he was hit three times on his head and left forearm with what he described as a metal object, the report said.
He was left with an approximately 2-inch gash to his forehead that required six stitches. The victim also complained of pain on one of his arms, the report stated.
Lu was transported to a hospital for treatment of his injuries after he identified Trunko as the person who assaulted him, according to deputies.
The suspect admitted to striking Lu with a Nintendo Switch Ring Fit and microphone stand, a deputy stated in the report. Both items were recovered at the scene, authorities added.
Lu was asked whether he feared for his life once the suspect grabbed his cellphone but the driver said he did not, and that he simply wanted to get his cellphone back, according to the police report.
A deputy found the phone during a pat-down of the suspect, the report said.
Trunko was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and robbery, according to the report and jail records. He was released on the same day he was taken into custody.
KTLA reached out to Lyft, which provided the following statement about the incident: “Safety is fundamental to Lyft. The behavior described is appalling, and we’ve reached out to the driver to offer our support. We permanently removed the rider from the Lyft platform and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.”
Juan Villafana, manager of Fabio’s Bar and Night Club, said Trunko had been acting erratically and refused to leave, at one point threatening Villafana and others with a torch if they did not let him play music using his DJ equipment.
Security ended up letting Trunko play music for about 20 minutes instead of escalating the situation, Villafana said.
“The whole night, [security] was just trying to get him out. I don’t know why they didn’t call the cops,” he added.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Lu with his medical expenses and car damage. More information can be found here.