A bricklayer from Britain died when his Uber driver did not take "reasonable care" and drove off with the man halfway out of the car, a coroner has ruled. Samuel Thomas, 30, who was living in Australia when the incident happened he on 17 June 2017 after a night out with friends.
Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan said Mr Thomas, from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, fell into the path of a bus. He said the Uber driver Nazrul Islam had "not exercised reasonable care". Uber driver convicted over Briton's death Mr Sullivan, the senior coroner for Hertfordshire, said: "The driver accelerated off when Mr Thomas was half way out of the car. "He fell into the path of a bus which collided with him and he was killed instantly." Mr Sullivan recorded the cause of death as "severe catastrophic head injuries" and concluded Mr Thomas died as a result of a road traffic collision.
Islam was found guilty of negligent driving occasioning death in November after accelerating while one of his passengers was exiting his vehicle, causing him to fall in front of an oncoming bus to his death. Uber driver Nazrul Islam, 31, said he did not know that Mr Sam Thomas was exiting the vehicle, claiming to not of seen the rear lights come on or hear the door open moments before accelerating away from a set of traffic lights in the early hours of the morning of June 17. A court heard that Uber driver Islam picked up Mr Thomas and two friends from a party at Strathfield in Sydney's inner-west. All three men were said to be under the influence of alcohol. Stephen Ronning, a friend who was in the front passenger seat of the Uber at the time of Mr Thomas's death, said he did see the interior light come on in the vehicle and also heard the back door open. As he turned around he saw Mr Thomas in the "motion of getting out" and turned to tell the driver to stop. A loud "pop" was heard which is when Islam stopped his vehicle. Ronning jumped out of the car to witness Mr Thomas laying in the road.
Mr Islam had told police that he works 50/60 hours a week for Uber and had been working that day since 6am. He said he was feeling ok after having two breaks of a few hours during his shift to sleep.
Security footage showed the car's internal light was illuminated for six seconds before Islam began to accelerate, causing Mr Thomas to fall. Magistrate Mary Ryan noted that Mr Thomas had opened the door "without a word of warning", but said: "Six seconds of light within the car is a significant warning. "The only explanation is that Mr Islam was much more fatigued than he admitted."
During his sentencing, the judge placed him on a 10-month intensive corrections order involving mandatory supervision and 200 hours of community service work.
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