Kristina Howato, a 39-year-old driver for the transportation company Lyft, was murdered by one of her passengers in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday. Authorities believe Howato was stabbed to death by 20-year-old Fabian Durazo with a kitchen knife. Durazo has reportedly admitted to the crime but hasn’t given any motive.
Howato was still in her vehicle when Durazo allegedly started attacking her, according to local police. Howato, who was in the third trimester of her pregnancy, was able to get out of the vehicle but the attack continued. She reportedly made her way to a nearby apartment complex where locals heard her screaming for help. The people in the apartment complex tried to administer first aid and asked her where she was stabbed. She replied, “all over.”
Howato reportedly described her attacker to witnesses before going unconscious at the apartment complex. She and her unborn baby were pronounced dead at the hospital.
Durazo is alleged to have left the area by driving Howato’s SUV, leaving the pregnant woman bleeding at the scene. Officers from the Tempe Police Department were able to locate the vehicle using the car’s GPS and Durazo was apprehended without incident.
Durazo has refused to give a motive for his alleged murder of the mother-to-be, but police currently believe that he hailed the Lyft with the desire to steal a vehicle. Local news reports show a pool of blood at the scene, presumably from Howato’s injuries.
“Throughout our careers as officers, we have incidents that really, really touch our hearts and stay with you throughout your careers,” Sgt. Ron Elcock from the Tempe Police Department said at a press conference yesterday. “This is definitely one of those incidents that really is going to affect the police department for a long time, and the community will think about this for a long time.”
Howato’s two children, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, are staying with family members, according to the Arizona Family news outlet.
So called “ridesharing” companies have come under fire since their inception over safety concerns, but those concerns have largely centered around the safety of passengers, especially since an Uber driver went on a killing spree murdering six people while picking up passengers in Michigan in 2016. The safety of drivers always seems to be a secondary thought, but they really shouldn’t be when these kinds of incidents in Arizona prove that being a driver for companies like Uber and Lyft can be a very dangerous job.
Lyft did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. We’ll update this article when we hear back.
[ABC15 Arizona and Arizona Family]
Update, 1:45pm: Lyft finally sent the following statement but didn’t address any of Gizmodo’s specific questions:
We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims. The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority. The passenger’s account has been permanently deactivated and we are actively assisting law enforcement with their investigation.
That’s the statement they’ve been sending around to everybody, for what it’s worth.