KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — An Uber passenger said he was in Jason Dalton’s vehicle just hours before Dalton allegedly went on shooting rampage around Kalamazoo, killing six people.
Matthew Mellen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a Monday interview that the ride started off normal. Then a phone call appeared to have set Dalton off.
“Once he hung up with that phone call is when he started driving really erratically. He was running red lights at that point, squealing the tires. He ran a stop sign and sideswiped another vehicle,” Mellen told CNN.
Mellen says he pleaded for Dalton to stop the vehicle and let him out.
“He was surprisingly calm the whole time. He was just stating that, he was like, ‘Don’t you want to get a ride to your friend’s house? Don’t you need a ride?’”
Dalton refused to stop and kept driving erratically, swerving into oncoming traffic.
“He started to get more agitated with me. He was like, ‘Where’s your friend’s house? Where’s your friend’s house?’ And I was pointing out random houses just so he would stop the vehicle,” Mellen told CNN.
Mellen was able to jump out the vehicle and get away. He got Dolton’s license plate number and called police.
Several hours later, Dalton was arrested in Kalamazoo after officers spotted the suspect vehicle — a black Chevrolet HHR. But Mellen says Dalton picked up him in a different vehicle, a Chevrolet Equinox.
Mellen says Dalton never threatened him and he didn’t see any weapons in the car.
“I felt threatened because he was driving so erratically, obviously, but I was never threatened personally with a weapon or anything like that,” Mellen said.
Uber says it recieved complaints about Dalton from several passenger, including one about erratic driving.
The ride-hailing service says Dalton cleared a background check and was approved to be a driver on Jan. 25. He had given slightly more than 100 rides and had not received any complaints before Saturday.
Authorities have said Dalton does not have a criminal record before the shooting rampage.