CHP Affirms Pepper Spray Was Used by Lyft Driver Who Ejected Justin Lavelle

The California Highway Patrol has confirmed that pepper spray was involved in an incident on Jan. 31 in which a West Hollywood man died after being ejected from a Lyft car on the 110 Freeway.

Justin Lavelle, 23, was killed when he was struck by a car on the freeway. That car and its driver haven’t been identified.

Justin Lavelle (Facebook)

The Lyft driver, Tariq Rasseed, alleges that Lavelle was drunk and kept grabbing the steering wheel, putting them in danger. Rasseed stopped the car and ordered Lavelle out near the freeway’s Slauson Avenue exit.

The victim’s mother, Amy Lavelle, told NBC4 that she last spoke to her son when he was left on the freeway, before he was killed.

In an interview with NBC4, Lavelle’s mother, Amy Lavelle, said her son called her after getting out of the car.

“He was screaming hideously and saying, ‘Mom, mom, I have been pepper sprayed,'” she said.

NBC4 reports that the CHP says that pepper spray, which Rasseed initially denying using, was used in the incident. Rasseed now admits that. Rasseed has been removed as a Lyft driver and as an Uber driver.

  1. Putting him out on the freeway with the INABILITY TO SEE…….. was a TRAGEDY WAITING TO UNFOLD….. How would he know how to walk down the exit ramp if he could not see! WOW! So as Steve stated, LOSING THE ABILITY TO WORK AS A DRIVER IS APPROPRIATE….CHARGES SHOULD BE FILED AGAINST HIM AS WELL, because at the end of the day, the reason a lot of people use LYFT, UBER, etc is because they are too drunk to drive (risking killing others) BUT A MAN LOST HIS LIFE NEEDLESSLY

  2. This is certainly a tragedy, but I’m not quite sure what the driver did that was wrong. Why should he lose his job?

    1. Leaving someone off on the freeway regardless of how that passenger acted is unacceptable, so losing the ability to work as a driver is appropriate.

    2. I carelessly commented before taking a second look at the article to see that he was left out ON the freeway exit. I was thinking he was left out on Slauson, and NEAR the exit ramp, which I’m still not sure is exactly what happened. I’m recalling being a passenger in a Uber pool when a drunken passenger was picked up after me who got in the front seat. He was an “angry and aggressive” drunk who hit the driver in the face with the back of his hand while driving, and he also grabbed the steering wheel. I was scared spitless! Fortunately, the driver was a big guy who pulled over, got out and pulled the drunk out of the car and sat him on a bus bench. I was so glad for that driver who put my safety ahead of that of the drunk.

      It seems that if Lavelle had the presence of mind to call for an Uber, and then his mother, he would also know not to walk into traffic.

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