One of two men picked up by an Uber driver in West Hollywood got out of the car and tried to cross the Ventura (101) Freeway in Encino Monday at which point he was struck and killed by a California Highway Patrol cruiser. The CHP officer was responding to a 911 call from the driver, who reported that two passengers were fighting.
The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene about 3:40 a.m. on the eastbound 101, west of Balboa Boulevard, triggering a six-hour shutdown of all eastbound lanes for the investigation.
The sergeant driving the CHP patrol car was uninjured, according to the CHP.
The Uber driver told reporters that the fatally injured man was a backseat passenger in the westbound Uber car and was exchanging punches with a front seat passenger, prompting the driver to briefly stop in the left lane near the center divider while calling 911 because the fighting passengers — who he had picked up in West Hollywood — were distracting his driving.
That’s when the fatally injured man got out of the stopped Uber and took off on foot, said CHP Officer Weston Haver of the West Valley Area CHP office.
Meanwhile, CHP officers alerted by the 911 call were working to conduct a traffic break on the westbound side of the freeway and a CHP vehicle was heading to the scene to assist from the eastbound side of the freeway.
“One of the Uber passengers jumped the concrete center divider wall — which they initially started on the westbound side — jumped the wall and (was) now on the eastbound side of the 101 and collided with the (eastbound) patrol vehicle,” Haver said. “The passenger was … running across traffic lanes (and) the patrol vehicle collided with that passenger.”
The Uber driver said he did not know that the passenger had gotten out of his vehicle, and he also told reporters he thought the man had been hit by more than one vehicle. The CHP was trying to determine if any other drivers had struck the pedestrian and asked anyone with information to contact investigators.
An Uber representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.