A single mother who works full-time as an Uber driver is suing Avis, claiming the company erroneously reported her rented car stolen, leading to her being stopped and detained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Ramona Gutierrez said she sustained injuries to her wrists after deputies held her at gunpoint and handcuffed her on March 22.
Earlier that day, she had rented the vehicle she was using for Uber in Torrance because she says her own car was in the repair shop.
She had gotten it cleared by Uber and drove off the Avis lot without any issues until she was pulled over by six Sheriff’s Department vehicles along the 210 Freeway.
Deputies pulled out their guns and dropped her on the ground, her attorney, Hugo Ivan Salazar, of the Salazar Law Group, claims.
“Even though she explained that the car was legally rented, sheriff deputies cuffed and put her in the squad car … She was humiliated and embarrassed by the incident and suffered physical and emotional distress as a result,” the law group said in a news release. “This experience has left her shaken and traumatized, and she is now seeking compensation for her injuries and emotional distress.”
While she complied, Gutierrez said she was confused and crying, and that she thought she was going to get shot. She said no one explained to her what was going on, and learned much later that deputies received a report from Avis that the car she was driving had been stolen.
Gutierrez told KTLA she has been working for Uber for six years, has a five-star rating on the ride-share app and is a law-abiding citizen.
She said she hasn’t been able to get back to work for weeks because she is still shaken from the ordeal.
“It’s been hard for me to drive,” she said, indicating she has not gotten an apology from Avis.
They said the case highlights the dangers of renting from Avis and the “potential consequences of their negligent reporting practices.”
“Ramona’s experience serves as a reminder that corporations have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their customers, and they must be held accountable when their negligence results in harm,” the news release stated. “We call on Avis to take immediate action to address their reporting practices.”
KTLA has reached out to the rental car company for comment but has not heard back.