Self-defense instructor gives safety tips after ‘nightmare’ Uber ride

Posted at 8:56 PM, Feb 12, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Days after a terrifying Uber ride through Richmond, Virginia, , a mixed martial arts instructor is providing tips to keep passengers safe.

Richmond Police announced they charged Olufemi S. Olomola , 38 of Henrico, with two counts of abduction, reckless driving and felony hit and run for the Monday night incident.

The Uber ride was streamed on Facebook Live from the backseat.

“That was the scariest moment of my life,” passenger Tameka Swann said. “I have never been that scared in my life. It was a nightmare.”

Swann and her fiancé, John Murray, screamed and plead for the driver to pull over as video showed the driver speed through red lights and narrowly missed a bicyclist.

A 911 dispatcher can be heard urging the driver to stop.

The couple said an SUV then crashed into the side of their car at West Broad Street and Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

“I wasn’t about to grab this guy because of the possibility of him hitting other pedestrians,” Murray explained.

Rick McCoy is a coach and instructor at MMA Institute on Jahnke Road. Dozens of trophies and championship belts line the walls at his gym.

For the past six years, McCoy has taught recruits from the Richmond Police Academy on self-defense and grappling techniques.

“A majority of our student base is fitness and self-defense,” he said.

McCoy said the first thing someone in a similar situation should do is call 911.

“In a situation like that try to deescalate,” he explained. “Next thing try to negotiate and try to remove yourself from the situation. If all else fails then self-defense comes into play.”

He advised against attacking the driver – as some commenters on Facebook have suggested.

“The car is moving. You don`t want to attack somebody that is in control of the car,” McCoy stated. “If they are not armed then the option is wait for them to stop.”

McCoy believed the passengers in the Monday incident acted correctly in calmly convincing the driver to pull over. He called using physical force a last resort.

“If [the driver] doesn’t have a weapon I would probably wait until the car is stopped to try to do any type of self-defense or remove myself from the situation,” he said.

A spokesperson with Uber said they are also investigating the ride.

“This driver’s behavior is concerning, and we have removed his access to the app pending investigation,” said an Uber spokeswoman.

Olomola is due in court on Thursday morning.

This article was written by Brendan King for WTVR .