(LOS ANGELES) — A former Taco Bell executive accused of attacking his Uber driver while intoxicated could face up to a year in jail if he’s convicted of charges against him, including assault and battery, officials said.
Benjamin Golden, 32, requested an Uber ride from a bar in Newport Beach, California, on Friday night, but while in the car, he was “unable to clearly give directions,” the Costa Mesa police said.
In video obtained by ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles, Golden is seen having trouble staying up-right in the back seat. The driver told KABC-TV that the passenger started to become aggressive.
The driver stopped in a parking lot in Costa Mesa, California, police said, and told the passenger to get out. And that’s when Golden reached in front of him and hit the driver several times in the head, the video shows, and then yanked the victim’s head back and forth.
The driver used pepper spray to defend himself, police said. Golden was arrested on assault and disorderly conduct/being drunk in public charges.
Golden, of Newport Beach, was charged on Tuesday with assault on a public transportation property, battery on a public transit employee with injury, assault and battery, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said.
If Golden is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine, according to the DA’s office.
Golden is currently out of custody, the DA’s office said, adding that prosecutors will request he be held on $20,000 bail at his arraignment set for Nov. 17. It was unclear if Golden has an attorney. ABC News could not reach Golden for comment.
Golden was fired from his job at Taco Bell in the wake of the incident, the company said in a statement.
“Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us,” the statement said. “We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help.”
An Uber spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News on Monday that the company was glad the driver “is doing OK.”
“We will provide any information to the investigating authorities as needed,” the statement added. “The rider involved in this incident has been permanently banned from the platform.”
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