Lents was on her phone and making a delivery, the lawsuit said, when she hit the motorcycle at 6:45 p.m. on March 7 at the south entrance to the university’s downtown campus, Cass Street at UT University Drive. Walker died at the scene. Her brother, Christopher Walker, 27, received permanent injuries, the lawsuit said. Tampa police cited Lents for failure to yield while making a left turn, which carries a $163 fine. The citation was dismissed, however, because a detective with the Tampa Police Department failed to deliver a copy to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office within the required five-day window.
TAMPA — A distracted Uber Eats driver slammed into a motorcycle at the University of Tampa campus in March, killing a 19-year-old student who was riding on the back and injuring her brother, the driver, according to a lawsuit. The family of Emily Grace Walker is seeking monetary damages in the wrongful death lawsuit, filed Oct. 29 in Hillsborough Circuit Court. Named as defendants are Uber Technologies Inc., its management subsidiary, Portier LLC, both of San Francisco, and the driver, Michaela Marie Lents, 33, of Tampa.
Lents filed the motion to dismiss the citation July 20, as soon as it was filed — seven days after it was issued, court records say. The Police Department is appealing the dismissal, according to court records. It took more than four months to issue the citation — a time lapse common in crashes where there is serious injuries or death, said Tampa police spokesperson Jamel Lanee. No criminal charges have been filed against Lents.Tampa police didn’t send out notice the day of the collision — in emails to news organizations or on social media — as they usually do when fatal crashes occur. Lanee said the department does not send alerts for every incident that happens within the city.
Lents was “rushed and not fully attentive to the road” when she turned her green 2017 Honda HR-V in front of the motorcycle, according to the lawsuit. The legal action was filed by attorneys for Catherine Walker as representative of husband Stephen Walker and son Christopher Walker. Uber is negligent in failing to train drivers and in encouraging distracted driving, the lawsuit said. The Uber phone app prompts delivery people to communicate with customers while driving, the lawsuit said.