STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Lyft driver unknowingly picks up Econo Lodge armed robbery suspect, suspect arrested during ride

30-year-old Sadele Threets, was arrested later that evening, in the middle of his Lyft ride. Mary Carolin was his driver.

Posted: Oct 18, 2019 12:23 AM

MEDFORD, ORE. -- A car chase through the heart of Medford on Wednesday led to the arrests of four suspects related to a reported armed robbery at Econo Lodge last Friday, according to Medford Police. The fifth suspect, later identified as 30-year-old Sadele Threets, was arrested later that evening, in the middle of his Lyft ride. 

Mary Carolin was his driver. She picked him up for a ride, not knowing that police were looking for him and that he was a suspect in the armed robbery.

Carolin has been driving for Lyft for almost a year. She's given rides to people she thought looked 'sketchy' before but Wednesday night's encounter takes the cake.

"I don't ever want that to happen to me again," Carolin said.

She picked up Threets from an Airbnb on the 3000-block of Lone Pine Road in Medford.

"He did seem like he was kind of in a hurry but not where he was rushing enough that it was concerning to me," Carolin thought back.

Oddly enough, Carolin vaguely knew Threets. Her daughter used to be friends with his sister. When she was pinged for the ride on the Lyft app, she recognized the unique name but couldn't quite remember a face. When he came out of the Lone Pine Road home, she remembered who he was. She remembered his past run-ins with the law but thought he must be trying to turn his life around.

"There was nothing about his demeanor that said 'I'm on the run from the police' or 'the police could bust me at any moment.'"

All of that changed almost 20 minutes later. Medford Police cars and officers stopped them at around West McAndrews Road and North Ross Lane.

"They're yelling, 'PUT YOUR HANDS UP! PUT YOUR HANDS UP!' She said putting her hands up like she did yesterday. "I remember looking at [Threets} and saying, 'what did you do?!' Then I look out my windows and there are cops with guns in my face. I started just screaming, 'PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME! I'M JUST THE LYFT DRIVER!'

Carolin remembers police telling her she was okay and she wasn't in trouble. Officers had been waiting for Threets to come out of the Airbnb and knew she was unfortunately just the Lyft driver caught in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation. Carolin said Threets was arrested moments later and he was calm the entire time.

"I guess when you live that kind of lifestyle the police pointing guns in your face is not a big deal to you," Carolin said. "It certainly is to me. It was very, very scary. I don't want that to happen to me ever again. I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone."

Carolin said she was instructed to pull over into the parking lot of a business on the corner. Police went through the car for any evidence.

"There was a little pouch that he had that was on the front seat that was left there when he got out. It had a gun in it. That really scared me because what if he had pulled that gun? What if he had been stupid enough to pull that gun out? I probably wouldn't be here."

Wednesday night's terrifying encounter isn't the first scary situation Carolin's been forced to deal with while driving for the rideshare company. She said someone tried to assault her. She came across some difficulties reporting it because that person's friend requested the ride. She reported it to the police but only had a description of what he looked like. Carolin said there are a lot of protections for Lyft riders, not so much for the drivers and some of the rules are double standards. She said she's not allowed to carry a gun with her while she's driving and said she sees the good and bad in that. Her drivers, however, can.

"I cannot have a Lyft driver app if I don't allow them to have a picture of me and my car. I pick up people all day long who are not forced to upload a picture of themselves so I cannot identify them."

Carolin will continue driving for Lyft for now. She's nearing 900 rides and two have been scary. A percentage she acknowledged is actually pretty good. She left with one message.

"If you're going to commit a crime, please don't call for Lyft or Uber to make your getaway. We don't want to be in the middle of your drama. We're just innocent people trying to make a living," Carolin said. "Call a friend."

Carolin added you could also get extra charges. Threets didn't make it to his final destination, but he paid for the entire ride.

NewsWatch 12 reached out to Lyft about the situation. The company responded with this statement:

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft. What the driver describes is frightening, and the rider's access to Lyft has been permanently removed. We have also reached out to the driver, and stand ready to assist law enforcement."

Five total suspects have been arrested. Medford Police are looking for one more. The case remains under investigation.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11851

Reported Deaths: 232
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah282472
Marion183153
Washington181520
Umatilla9877
Clackamas95527
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Malheur3021
Lane2943
Deschutes2520
Yamhill1949
Jackson1780
Linn17410
Polk17312
Jefferson1630
Morrow1381
Klamath1351
Wasco1161
Benton1126
Hood River1040
Douglas600
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Coos540
Columbia480
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa140
Baker110
Curry90
Sherman40
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 318761

Reported Deaths: 7027
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1303943795
Riverside24765537
Orange23901421
San Diego19371422
San Bernardino18912304
Fresno790687
Imperial7827135
Alameda7725148
Kern633997
San Joaquin627968
Santa Clara5983166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento533981
Stanislaus463351
Contra Costa460589
San Francisco442650
Ventura424653
San Mateo3949112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin343430
Kings289839
Monterey254018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma165014
Placer105511
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8938
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5683
Napa4774
Sutter3724
Butte3384
San Benito3362
El Dorado3070
Lassen2750
Shasta1876
Yuba1803
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Colusa1130
Mendocino1130
Lake1081
Tehama1041
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono501
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 86°
Brookings
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 75°
Crater Lake
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 84°
Grants Pass
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 84°
Klamath Falls
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 84°
Sunny & seasonal Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events