University of South Carolina Student’s Death Sparks Ride-Share Movement

Twin Ports students share their ride-share safety tips

DULUTH, Minn., and SUPERIOR, Wis. – The safety of ride sharing services is in the spotlight. The scrutiny comes after a University of South Carolina student’s body was found in a field hours after she got in a car that she mistakenly thought was her Uber.

Surveillance video shows 21 year old Samantha Josephson waiting for her Uber outside a bar then mistakenly getting into a black vehicle that pulled up to a nearby parking spot. Her body was found just hours after footage was taken left in a field with numerous wounds. The man authorities believe was driving that car is now charged with her murder.

With ride share services like Uber and Lyft more popular than ever, risks like fake–ride share drivers are more of a possibility.

Businesses in the Twin Ports like 310 Pub see a rise in people using these services after drinking as a way to avoid drunk driving.

“You have so much trust in a company that provides actually a wonderful way to get home safely, especially if you’ve been under the influence, provides you a safe ride home… It keeps you from behind the wheel,” 310 Pub bartender Julie Elliott said.

They say there are safe ways to get from A to B using services like Uber, riders just need to be careful.

Even the University of South Carolina president addressed the student body in an email asking them help start a nationwide movement involving two steps to travel safely with Uber. The first step is making sure that everything you see in the app matches what you see in real life. The second is asking the driver ‘What’s my name’ before you get in the car.

“Maybe it could even happen in Duluth, which is kind of scary, which I wouldn’t think it would because this is my home. But it’s definitely something to think of and be more aware of. It’s definitely a shock moment,” a UMD student shares.

We talked with students at UMD in Duluth and UWS in Superior. They plan to be more aware when using services like this in the future.

These are just some of the safety tips they use:

  • Stay together, never go anywhere by yourself.
  • Share your trips with your friends so they know where you’re going.
  • Have a sober friend who is aware of what is going on.

Legislation has already been introduced in South Carolina that would require all ride sharing services to have illuminated lights on their cars, an idea other states may also soon consider.

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