INDIANAPOLIS — After driving just over a year with Lyft, Derek Trotter said he had really found his groove.
"I'm a five-star driver. I always went by Lyft's rules. I kept my car squeaky clean," Trotter said.
His driver profile shows he's given nearly 3,000 rides and indeed, has a rating of five, which is the highest drivers can get. However, a recent ride has him rethinking driving for ridesharing apps altogether. That ride started like all the others.
"I did my job as a Lyft driver. Picked up two, young teenagers or early 20s. Drove them down 39th St. to these apartments and pulled right alongside this road," Trotter said.
The ride then took a turn for the worse.
"One guy pulls out a gun, a pretty big gun, points it toward my head. One guy grabs the keys and says, 'Get out and leave everything.' I'm kind of frazzled at that point."
Trottter said this happened just after midnight. Because his phone was in the car that was stolen, he had to walk to several gas stations to call the police. After this incident, he now knows what to look out for while driving Lyft. He shares some of those things as a warning to other drivers.
"Phantom profile pictures. If they're going a short distance because they have to prepay to ride, they're probably not going to pay more than $4 or $5 an hour. Some kind of name like NBA or Joker."
Trotter also wants Lyft to do its part to protect drivers.
"Have them alert other drivers that this is going on," he said.
A Lyft spokesperson spoke with WRTV and explained that safety is fundamental and the company is working with law enforcement to keep drivers safe. They also noted a number of features in the Lyft app, like the ability to share your location with family and friends, along with being able to get emergency help if drivers or riders feel unsafe.
Trotter wants Lyft to continue prioritizing safety to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
Lyft sent WRTV the following statement regarding Trotter's carjacking:
"We've been in touch with the driver to offer our support and are working with law enforcement to help keep drivers safe. We're also exploring ways to expand the use of certain safety features and alerts to help prevent these kinds of incidents moving forward."
Trotter's car was found over the weekend by police. The case is still under investigation. IMPD said rideshare drivers need to use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to pick up passengers.