WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One reason to use an Uber is to make sure you get home safely after a night of fun. However, a Wilmington couple found themselves stuck on the side of the road after celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and getting a ride from former UNCW basketball player Addison Spruill.
“The name Addison kind of rang a bell with me,” Uber passenger, Kevin Baggs said. “I graduated from UNCW a year after he did. So I’m a big basketball fan. I followed the team quite a bit.”
Caitlin Schifter and her boyfriend Kevin Baggs got stranded after police stopped their driver for speeding. Shortly after, they found out there were bigger issues that landed Spruill in handcuffs.
“Would’ve never thought that somebody would have got pulled over and then arrested while we were in the Uber,” Baggs said.
But that is exactly what happened to the couple early Sunday morning.
“We felt fine. We were talking to the Uber driver. We didn’t have any problems,” Schifter said. “But it wasn’t until we encountered four more police cars surrounding the car. That’s when I started getting nervous, because I’m like, ‘OK. What kind of Uber driver are we with right now?'”
Little did the couple know Spruill was about to be arrested. Wilmington Police say he had drugs in the car and an outstanding warrant for intimidating a witness.
It was an intense night for the two, but one that will not stop Baggs from using the app.
“It could have been worse if one of us was driving,” Baggs said. “So I think it’s a great service, and people should definitely use it. But it has kind of made me second guess like hey you don’t always know whose car you’re going to be in.”
While Uber does a screening process that includes a background check, the couple says more could be done to ensure safety.
“I know there’s a lot of them but trying to make sure that each and every one of them are up to date with their background checks and their driving records and everything,” Schifter said.
WWAY reached out to Spruill but have not heard back. Uber has suspended his account.
After police arrested Spruill, Schifter and Baggs got another Uber to get them home. Uber refunded their fare for both trips.
Uber sent WWAY the following statement about how they screen drivers:
The screening process requires an applicant’s full name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, a copy of his or her driver’s license, vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, and a valid bank account.
A social security trace is used to identify addresses associated with the potential driver, and then checks the potential driver’s driving and criminal history in a series of national, state and local databases. These include the US Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website, the PACER database, and several databases used to flag suspected terrorists.
We follow all applicable local laws when reviewing the results of the motor vehicle/criminal screening to determine eligibility to drive on the Uber app. These laws vary across states and cities, but you can see a general description of the criteria that we apply here.