Hardesty, Lyft driver each call 911 during ride from ilani

Multnomah County

Hardesty called 911 first, then the driver

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Lyft ride Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty ordered from the ilani Casino ended in dueling 911 calls when she refused to get out of the car, audio obtained by KOIN 6 News revealed.

The November 1 ride began when Lyft driver Richmond Frost picked up a passenger named “Jo Ann” at the casino. Frost kept the windows cracked — COVID protocols put in place by the ride share company — and Hardesty complained.

The ride went downhill from there and Frost decided to cancel the ride. He pulled off into a Chevron station at an I-5 exit ramp in Ridgefield. But Hardesty refused to get out of the car and called 911 at 9:48 p.m.

Hardesty told the 911 dispatcher he dropped her off “in the dark at a filling station. And I’m not getting out. Not happening. All because I asked him to put the window up.”

The dispatcher told her “technically it’s his property and there’s no crimes involved.” Hardesty said Frost canceled her ride “and I’m just going to sit here until he gets me another ride.”

“Only you can order another ride,” the dispatcher said. “I can have an officer come out but they’re not going to be able to make him stay there.”

“He can’t go anywhere because I’m not moving until another car comes,” Hardesty replied.

The dispatcher told her he would send officers.

Three minutes after Hardesty’s call, Frost also called 911.

“I’ve got a customer that I’ve canceled the ride and I’ve taken her off the freeway to the filling station so that she can order another ride,” he said. “She’s refusing to get out of my car.”

He said he was in the front seat and his passenger was in the back seat during the call. Asked if she had any weapons on her, Frost said, “I doubt it.”

The dispatcher told him officers were on their way.

‘I proactively called 911’

Hardesty’s 911 call, she told the Portland Tribune, shows how sometimes callers don’t have a choice — especially when they are a Black woman in Ridgefield, Washington, stuck next to a shut-down gas station next to the highway late at night.

“I knew that having him call the police (on Hardesty) would put me in danger,” Hardesty said. “And so that’s why I proactively called 911.”

Hardesty said that as soon as she got in the car, Frost complained that she wasn’t at the usual exit for pick-up. “I always get picked up at this door,” she said she responded.

“I’ve had some interesting drivers, but never one who was so blatantly rude from the beginning,” she said.

Frost said he also sensed tension from the start, and said he didn’t know if she had had a bad day gambling, or what. “I spent 40 years in the service business,” he said. “There’s always a few people, you cannot please them no matter what you do.”

Then the dispute came over the windows, which Frost, who is 63, keeps open on the driver side and the passenger side in back.

Frost says he kept the window open just wide enough to fit a pencil, and he was following Lyft recommendations. He said the car was still quite warm, and he’d never had a passenger complain about the windows before. The call, he added, “was so unnecessary … To argue and belittle and to treat me the way I felt she treated me was completely unnecessary.”

According to Frost, the Chevron is well-lit and he felt Hardesty was safe. He wasn’t allowed to call Lyft to get her a ride, and said he told her that.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner

Hardesty, for her part, told the Tribune that the Chevron station was already turning off its lights. An employee confirmed that it closes at 10pm on Sundays. At that point she was faced with having to stand outside a closed-down Chevron next to Interstate 5, at 10p.m.

“I didn’t know how long I would have to wait,” she said. “There was no way I was going to get out on the side of the road, in the dark, because some driver has an attitude, and decided I should just get out and just whatever happens happens.”

According to Frost, the Chevron is well-lit and he felt Hardesty was safe. He wasn’t allowed to call Lyft to get her a ride, and said he told her that.

Hardesty, for her part, told the Tribune that the Chevron station was already turning off its lights. An employee confirmed that it closes at 10pm on Sundays. At that point she was faced with having to stand outside a closed-down Chevron next to Interstate 5, at 10p.m.

“I didn’t know how long I would have to wait,” she said. “There was no way I was going to get out on the side of the road, in the dark, because some driver has an attitude, and decided I should just get out and just whatever happens happens.”

“I don’t call 911 lightly, but I certainly am not gonna do anything that would put my personal safety at risk,” she added. “It’s a lot harder when you are Black or brown in America to make that decision … But I ultimately had very limited options.”

After getting her new ride at 10:14p.m., she immediately submitted a complaint to Lyft, according to a copy shared by her office. It read:

“I requested a ride, the driver came to the wrong pick up location, He then blamed me. I asked him to roll the window up on my side and he started to yell, ‘I can’t because the regulations require each window to be cracked (which isn’t true). He then pulls over in the dark on the side of a gas station and told me he was cancelling the ride. I had no interest in being left on the side of the road by an angry driver. He threaten to call the police. I called the police & another car. Both arrived at the same time. It is totally inappropriate to expect a woman to get out of a vehicle in the dead of night because any angry person demands it.

“This is a safety issue for your customer. Your driver was in no danger.”

Lyft replied two hours later:

“The feedback alleged that you refused to exit the driver’s vehicle after they requested you do so. As a reminder, drivers are free to end a ride for any reason as long as the drop off is in a safe location,” it said.

“Safety is our top priority. We take these matters very seriously. We encourage everyone using Lyft to be respectful of others. This helps maintain a safe and inclusive community.

“Please know that future reports of this nature may lead to additional action being taken on your account.”

‘Bad ride for both of us’

In a brief conversation with KOIN 6 News, Frost said he does not have a dash cam but is thinking of getting one now.

“It was a bad ride for both of us,” he said. “I hope there is a good resolution for both of us.”

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