FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — An Uber driver from Hamilton County was frightened for her life as a customer held a gun to her head for several minutes.
The suspect in this case is Lauren Mazza, 36, from Noblesville.
Anita Johnson was the driver in the case. She hasn’t been able to get back behind the wheel a week after the incident.
“I’ve had this effing gun behind you this whole time, behind your back and you didn’t even know,” Johnson remembers Mazza telling her.
It all started early Saturday morning when Johnson picked up an Uber passenger from Joe’s Grille on 82nd Street. She said Mazza got in, clearly intoxicated, with a destination address in Noblesville.
But soon after getting on Interstate 69, Johnson said Mazza started cussing her out and using racial slurs because Johnson wasn’t taking her to another bar. Johnson said she told Mazza to change the address in her phone, otherwise she had to go to the original destination. She said Mazza accused her of kidnapping.
When the customer updated the address, Johnson took her to the Joe’s Grille in Fishers.
As she put the car into park, she saw the gun for the first time.
Johnson had already booked another ride and hoped that would help get her current customer out of the car.
But she said Mazza wouldn’t get out of the car and kept yelling — this time demanding to be taken to the original address in Noblesville, with her finger on the trigger the entire time.
“This can’t be about race but as the comments continued, I’m like, ‘Wait, does she not like me because I’m Black,'” said Johnson. “To see what I seen in her eyes, this woman is going to do this. There was no fear in her.”
Midway through, Johnson says she dialed 911 without drawing attention.
“I knew I couldn’t pick it up. I knew I couldn’t say hello. I was just hoping — please don’t hang up. Please don’t hang up. Listen to the call,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the tirade lasted for four agonizing minutes until other customers pulled up and some walked out to smoke. That’s when Johnson says Mazza got out of the car.
She called 911 back and Fishers police officers were there almost immediately.
“When they saw the fear in me, they stood by my side,” Johnson said. “They didn’t stop looking. When they couldn’t find her, they brought more officers to the scene. It just amazed me.”
Fishers police said they found Mazza hiding in the bushes with the handgun.
For Johnson, it’s terrifying knowing Mazza is out on bond. For a week, she’s been looking over her shoulder in public.
“I didn’t think it would mess with me as much as it has; it’s just traumatizing,” Johnson said. “The woman that did this to me, I live in the same city as you. We probably grocery shop in the same place. We go to the same movie theater.”
Fishers police said Mazza faces three charges: intimidation, pointing a firearm and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.
Johnson said she’s still not ready to drive others around yet, but it’s her full-time job, so she says she’s getting there.