The incident happened just before 11 p.m. on Washington Blvd near Columbia Pike. It started, police say, after the driver picked up six passengers, then later noticed that they were drinking alcohol from open containers inside the vehicle.
“The driver could smell alcohol,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The driver asked the passengers to stop drinking; when they refused, the driver pulled over to the side of the road near an I-395 on-ramp and “terminated the fare,” forcing all six to get out, according to Savage.
A verbal confrontation ensued. At one point, three of the passengers — all 20-something men from Woodbridge, Va. — approached the vehicle again to retrieve property they had left inside, Savage said. At that point, one of the men punched and shattered a passenger-side window, and another man struck the driver in the face with a beer bottle, police allege.
The men also allegedly tried to take the keys out of the vehicle ignition, breaking them in the process.
The three men then split with the other three passengers and walked away, Savage said. Police, working with the driver and witnesses, obtained a description of the men. A short time later, police officer on scene noticed three men in an approaching taxicab. The officer pulled over the cab, identified the men and took them into custody.
“Justin Allen Norconk, 26, of Woodbridge VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and assault by mob,” according to an ACPD crime report.” Lance Daniel Ingram, 25, of Woodbridge VA, was arrested and charged with assault by mob. Jeffery Eugene Rowe Jr., 26, of Woodbridge VA, was arrested and charged with destruction of property. All three suspects are being held without bond.”
The Uber driver was treated on scene for cuts to his face.
Update at 6:05 p.m. — Uber says the two riders who split the fare for the ride have been deactivated from the platform pending an investigation. “We’ve been in touch with the driver-partner and stand ready to assist the authorities with their investigation,” said a spokeswoman.
“We are deeply committed to the safety of drivers on the Uber platform,” the company said. “Drivers benefit from many of the same transparency and accountability features that riders do, such as providing feedback and ratings for every trip, which deter bad behavior from passengers.”