Police search for woman who attacked Lyft driver

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 18:31:56-04

St. Petersburg Police are looking for the woman who attacked a Lyft driver around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night.

Police have identified the woman as 28-year-old Stephanie Young. She's seen in cell phone video, taken by the driver, blowing her nose into the seat cover, cursing, spitting and eventually attacking the driver.

The driver, who wished to go only by Michelle, had a chunk of hair pulled out of her head and a fingernail ripped off.

"I have a quarter size bald spot and a dime size bald spot in the back of my head," she said.

Michelle says Young was emotional when she first got into the car. She says her friends helped her get inside while she was crying.

"I said 'Hello, how are you?' She didn't say anything, so I just kept driving in silence," Michelle said.

Michelle says she turned on the video about a half mile into the drive when Young had ripped off the headrest cover of her passenger seat to use as a tissue. In the video, the woman is seen coughing and blowing her nose into the cover, sarcastically thanking the driver for giving it to her.

"I said some choice words to her and turning on the camera because I felt something was going to happen," Michelle said.

Michelle pulled into a parking lot where she ran into a security guard. She told Young that her ride was over then put down the window and asked the security guard to call the police. That's when Young spit on the driver and the physical altercation began. In the video, you can hear the security guard asking telling Young to let Michelle go. Michelle says Young finally let her go, then took off running.

Tonight, Michelle is also upset with how Lyft handled the situation.

"They didn't help. They weren't helpful," she said.

While police were still trying to identify Young, Lyft would not release the suspect's information.

It turns out, Lyft requires a subpoena to release information to law enforcement.

The company has since released this statement:

"We were horrified to hear about this senseless attack and have reached out to the driver, _____, to offer our support. Any kind of violence on the platform is a betrayal of the Lyft values and policies. We have permanently banned the passenger from accessing Lyft and have been in contact with the authorities to support their investigation."