DETROIT - Ride-hailing company Uber received a complaint about erratic driving by Jason Dalton Saturday night, but says it never could have predicted the violent acts Dalton allegedly committed.
Dalton was charged Monday with killing six people in random shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that began around 6 p.m. Saturday and ended nearly five hours later. While the motive for the shootings isn't yet known, Dalton's actions behind the wheel, and the company's screening process for its drivers, are coming into question in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Uber passenger Matt Mellen said earlier Monday that he called police to report that Dalton was driving erratically more than an hour before the shootings began. Mellen also said he tried to report Dalton to Uber.
Uber security chief Joe Sullivan said the company received complaints about Dalton from several passengers on Saturday, including one about dangerous and erratic driving. Sullivan wouldn't say whether that report came from Mellen.
Sullivan said Uber immediately suspends drivers who are accused of violent acts. But in the case of erratic driving, it typically contacts the driver first to make sure it hears both sides. Sullivan wouldn't say whether Uber contacted Dalton Saturday night, referring questions about the timeline of events to law enforcement.
Sullivan also stressed that until Saturday, Uber had no reason to believe that anything was amiss.
The San Francisco-based 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 a rating of 4.73 stars out of a possible five.
"I don't think that we will change our screening processes as a result of this incident," Sullivan said. "No background check would have flagged and anticipated this situation."
Sullivan said he's satisfied with the company's response to the tragedy. Uber is working closely with law enforcement, he said, and is providing GPS locations of Dalton's car and other information to aid the investigation.
Uber has raised more than $10 billion in venture capital and is widely viewed as the world's most valuable startup. Its handling of the crisis and ability to make passengers feel safe could have a greater impact on the company's future than its many battles with government regulators.