Police: 18-year-old arrested in shooting death of his Lyft driver

Updated: Jan. 30, 2020 at 11:35 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Police have arrested a man accused of shooting and killing his Lyft driver in Chesterfield.

Police were called to the 2900 block of Providence Creek Road for a report of a vehicle crash around 6:30 a.m. Jan. 28.

When they arrived, Franklin Farrens, 79, of Chester was found inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Farrens was a driver for Lyft and his passenger that morning, Bernard Smith, 18, has been charged in his death.

Smith was arrested on Wednesday night and is now facing charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Chesterfield Police say Smith lived on the same block of Providence Creek Road where Farrens crashed early Tuesday morning.

Detectives are still trying to understand why he allegedly pulled the trigger.

“We haven’t been able to identify any type of motive at this time,” said Lt. Brad Conner with Chesterfield PD.

Violence of this sort is a concern among rideshare drivers like John Pedrick.

“We run that risk every day. I’ve been doing this for almost three years. That risk is always in the back of my mind, it always has been," he said.

Pedrick leads a Facebook group called “RVA Rideshare Partners,” and believes that passengers should have the same sort of vetting that drivers have to go through to put customers at ease.

Lyft also sent a statement to NBC12 regarding Farrens’ death:

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our hearts are with Franklin’s family and friends during this difficult time. We take all matters involving safety extremely seriously, and are working with law enforcement to assist in the investigation.”

But in the wake of this tragedy, he says he and his family of drivers will be there for Farrens’ actual family.

“We want to let them know, ‘We’re here for you. We understand. We feel your pain as much as you do.’ We feel the pain from the community standpoint of now we have a fellow member that is not out there helping our team,” he said.

Smith is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail, without bond. His next court date was set for March 2.

Anyone with information about this crime should call 804-748-1251.

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