Local family’s “nightmare” experience after Uber assault


"We have two little girls and they keep asking me… is Dad going to die?"

LINCOLN, Ark. (KNWA) — A Northwest Arkansas family is searching for answers after their loved one was assaulted while Uber driving in California.

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Joseph McVey of California, was working on Sunday, September 29, when he picked up Cedric Jeter.

“He has been in the hospital since the 29th,” McVey’s aunt, Silvia Smith of Lincoln, said. “He’s 41 years old, a father, a husband, and has two beautiful girls.”

Joseph McVey’s children

According to Sacramento Police, Jeter pulled a knife on McVey.

He was taken into custody and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

This Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, booking photo provided by the Sacramento, Calif. Police Department shows suspect Cedric Jeter. A California driver was in a medically induced coma after suffering a heart attack following an assault by a passenger. KOVR-TV reported that Joseph McVey had a heart attack after fending off a knife attack by Jeter in McVey’s rented Uber vehicle. Authorities say Cedric Jeter was taken into custody and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. (Sacramento Police Department via AP)

McVey escaped the attack but according to his aunt, the shock of the assault was too much for him to handle.

“Since the attack he’s had two strokes and he’s been on a ventilator,” Smith said. “We’ve all been fighting for him because from the attack he had a massive heart attack.”

Joseph McVey

Smith said the hospital has been able to slowly take him off the induced sedation and he has responded.

“First night he kinda opened his eyes and squeezed his dad’s hands,” she said. “We’re not sure yet if he understands or how much he’s understanding, but it gives us more hope because we’ve all been praying.”

Both Smith and McVey’s wife Holly, who lives in California, said what makes this terrible tragedy even worse are the costs from medical bills racking up.

“The financial struggles have been terrible on the family,” Smith said. “It’s kind a like we are living a nightmare.”

Joseph & Holly McVey

They wish Uber would do more to support full-time workers like McVey in times like these.

“If they can’t do anything to keep them safe, at least if something does happen, they need to have some financial protection for them,” (Holly) McVey said.

After her family’s experience, Smith wants other Uber drivers in Northwest Arkansas to be aware that this could happen here too.

“You could be at the airport, you could be at a restaurant, anywhere that you pick up passengers regularly, Uber drivers need to know that they have some kind of protection,” she said.


As the McVey family waits for answers, they are putting their trust in a higher power.

“I have 100% hope in God so I am 100% positive that he’s going to heal,” Smith said.

KNWA News reached out to Uber to see what protections are out there for drivers and have not heard back yet.

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