Palm Coast, FL - A 26-year-old Palm Coast man is charged with Battery and Child Abuse, after Flagler County Sheriff's deputies say he put a Lyft driver in a chokehold while he was driving the vehicle. Travis Smith, who deputies say was visibly intoxicated, a friend, and the friend's seven-year-old child, were traveling home from Flagler Beach early Sunday (August 2) morning when Smith pulled down a plastic partition that was installed due to the COVID-19 virus before grabbing the driver, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
The car was at the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Royal Palm Parkway just after midnight when both the driver and Smith exited the vehicle while it was still in drive and started to fight. The driver called for passersby to call police.
When police arrived, Smith told deputies that he, his friend, and the child were in the car when the driver started driving recklessly. The driver's dashcam footage told a different story and deputies say that the driver's version is the correct one.
“This was a very dangerous situation for not only the people inside the vehicle but for the other motorists on the roadway,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This drunk attacked an innocent driver and put numerous lives in danger. These rider-share services can quickly become dangerous and drivers should be cautious of who they let in their vehicle. Thankfully the video recording device captured the entire incident and he went to jail.”
The Lyft driver suffered minor injuries , including a hematoma on the side of his forehead during the altercation. Smith was arrested and charged with Battery against the driver and Child Abuse because of the 7-year-old child who was in jeopardy during the attack in a moving vehicle. Smith was booked into the Flagler County Jail and released after posting a $7,500 bond.