West Texas Uber Driver Fatally Shot by Passenger in Kidnapping Misunderstanding

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Tragic Incident in El Paso Raises Questions About Perception and Response

EL PASO, Texas – Phoebe Copas, a 48-year-old woman from Kentucky, has been charged with murder after allegedly shooting her Uber driver, 52-year-old Daniel Piedra Garcia, in a tragic case of mistaken identity. The incident occurred on June 16 in far southeast El Paso, Texas, as Copas was being driven to a destination by Piedra.

According to an arrest affidavit, Copas believed she was being kidnapped and taken to Mexico after seeing traffic signs indicating “Juarez, Mexico.” In a state of panic, she reached into her purse, retrieved a handgun, and fatally shot Piedra in the head. The vehicle veered out of control and crashed into barriers before coming to a stop on a freeway.

Authorities have clarified that the crash site was not in close proximity to a bridge, port of entry, or any immediate access point to travel into Mexico, refuting Copas’ assumption of kidnapping. Investigations indicate that Piedra was adhering to Copas’ intended destination.

Following the shooting, Copas allegedly took a photo of Piedra and texted it to her boyfriend before calling 911. Piedra was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries after several days. His grieving family made the difficult decision to remove him from life support upon medical advice.

Piedra, remembered as a hardworking and jovial man, was the sole provider for his family. He had recently returned to work after recovering from injuries sustained in his previous job. His niece, Didi Lopez, expressed the family’s grief and desire for justice: “He was always the one that, if he saw you in a bad mood, he’d come over and try to lift you up. We just want justice for him.”

Initially charged with aggravated assault, Copas now faces a murder charge, leading to her detention in El Paso on a $1.5 million bond. The tragic incident has raised questions about perception and response, highlighting the importance of effective communication and clarity in tense situations.

As the investigation continues, the community mourns the loss of a beloved Uber driver, and Copas awaits her day in court. The case serves as a stark reminder of the irreversible consequences that can arise from impulsive actions fueled by misunderstanding and fear.

Source: KSAT 12

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