ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. — A Lyft driver said a group of would-be passengers stole his Mercedes in an early morning carjacking in Freeburg, Illinois, on Wednesday.
Around 6:30 a.m, Lyft driver and Swansea resident Rick Suryk drove to a pickup location on Jefferson Road in his 2008 black Mercedes sedan.
“They walked up like they normally would, and I thought all three were going to get in the backseat,” said Suryk.
But they didn’t.
“One guy walks up to my back door,” said Suryk. “One guy walks up to my passenger door, and I can see a laser with a gun to my right with my peripheral vision. And then all of a sudden my driver’s door opens real quick, and I thought something is going terribly wrong.”
Suryk said within seconds the carjacking escalated.
“He pulls me and says get the ‘blank blank’ out of the car, throws me down in the pouring rain on the pavement, aims his gun at me, backs up, and I thought he’s not going to run me over with my own car,” said Suryk. “In a quarter of a second, you just don’t know what to do.”
Suryk said he was left on the side of the road and had to knock on the doors of nearby houses for help.
“Dad made him some coffee, tried to calm him down, helped to help him get ahold of his son,” said neighbor Chloe Hacker. “Honestly, if I was in his spot I would’ve been crying.”
Suryk has been driving for Lyft for four years with over 3,000 rides and a five-star rating. On top of that, he just recently added new tires, a $3,000 upgrade.
“Never had a bad ride until this morning,” said Suryk. “It was a bad ride. I’m lucky to be here.”
As a retired 70-year-old, he doesn’t drive for the money but does it, as he says, to help people who just need a ride.
“I meet the nicest people,” said Suryk. “So, you know, I do it as a service.”
Suryk said that even though he wasn’t hurt, the trauma is enough to never drive for a ride-sharing company again. He said Lyft is taking care of the stolen car, but the insurance deductible for his stolen car is not enough. He will try to fight for better help.
As for the thieves, the Freeburg Police Department does not have any leads right now, but an investigation is underway.