Update: Uber Driver Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder Spree While Working

After Jason Brian Dalton plead guilty to killing six people almost three years ago while working as a driver for Uber, he was sentenced to six counts of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole by Alexander Lipsey, who is a judge in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court and presided over the case.

Update: Uber Driver Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder Spree While Working

Dalton was 45 years old at the time when he picked up riders, took fares, and dropped them off between the shootings of random victims which occurred during a period of nearly five hours during Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Both survivors and families of the deceased victims faced the convicted killer during his sentencing on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. “I woke up at 3 a.m. to my mom screaming outside my apartment,” Emily Lenner — who was one of eleven people to address Dalton — tearfully recounted the murders of her father Rich Smith and brother Tyler Smith, according to this article from WOOD-TV Channel 8 News, which serves the Michigan cities of Kalamazoo, Holland and Grand Rapids. “Hugging and holding my dad’s cold body was a nightmare that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Kissing my brother’s cold, pale forehead will never leave my mind. And even though I needed to see them in order to truly know they were gone, it still causes me pain.”

The other ten people — including Tiana Carruthers, who was shot multiple times as she shielded children from Dalton’s bullets — were also emotional during their statements, which are recounted in the aforementioned article.

Other than being cited for speeding several times, Dalton reportedly had no criminal history before the shooting spree, which also resulted in two people being seriously wounded.

In this subsequent article from the same television station, Dalton allegedly confessed to police that he “took people’s lives” but has not shown any remorse; and that he “would prefer to just remain silent.”

Police reportedly did not believe that Dalton was finished killing random people, as he was allegedly “armed with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and had more ammunition on him when he was arrested around 12:40 a.m. during a traffic stop in Kalamazoo.”


Although I rarely write and post news articles anymore, I thought an update was in order pertaining to the fate of Dalton, as I had first written about it in this article on Monday, February 22, 2016.

I was completely unimpressed with the first time I used Uber — which occurred back in June of 2018 — but I did have a significantly improved experience the next day. I never was particularly fond of being a passenger of taxi cabs — to the point where I would rather walk from an airport than use one — so Uber did not impress me to the point of using its service regularly in the future.

Susan — who is a reader of The Gateposted this comment that “I have never felt comfortable with the idea of hiring an Uber (versus a taxi) – I always felt like it was right up there with hitchhiking (just as I have never used AirBNB); I value my safety more than the savings of a few dollars for using either company, so this news doesn’t come as any surprise to me, other than to be a little surprised that a city as small as Kalamazoo had a need for an Uber service.”

The chances of you encountering a murderer when using Uber are likely negligible; and I am certainly not suggesting that you take your life in your hands and that you will not survive the ride should you decide to use the service — but just how safe are Uber and other ride sharing services? Are taxi cabs no safer than ride sharing services? Are ride sharing services safer since the shooting spree in Kalamazoo — and if so, how? Should the drivers of ride sharing services be fingerprinted?

What are your thoughts?

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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