POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA — An Uber driver found himself in a conflict that he had nothing to do with, after a man believed that his girlfriend had gotten into the Uber from a bar. The woman who got into the Uber was in fact not the man’s girlfriend, but it still doesn’t excuse the actions of the boyfriend.
And those actions cost that man, 34-year-old Jason Boek, his life.
Prior to the shooting, [Polk County Sheriff Grady] Judd said that Boek had been waiting in the parking lot of the Grove Lounge on US Highway 27 in Dundee while his girlfriend was inside the bar.
Boek saw a woman who he thought was his girlfriend, be helped into an Uber by another woman and a bartender.
The woman who was put in the Uber was not Boek’s girlfriend.
The Uber driver, 38-year-old Robert Westlake, had begun to drive the woman to her destination. Westlake is a concealed carry permit holder “and a licensed security guard who recently completed police academy.”
Boek began texting his girlfriend, believing that she was inside the Uber. He said that he was going to follow the driver and beat him up.
That’s not the best course of action in this scenario.
Boek was aggressively following the Uber in a Ford F-250 pickup truck. He approached the Hyundai from behind, passed and then pulled in front of it. Boek then stopped in the road in front of the Hyundai.
Boek then got out of his truck and began walking towards the Hyundai, yelling and telling Westlake that he had a gun. That’s when Westlake reached for his pistol and fired a single shot as Boek continued to approach.
Immediately after, Westlake called 911 and then began ‘lifesaving measures’ on Boek.
“This is a justifiable homicide all day long,” said Judd. “You have a right to protect yourself. This is a classic stand your ground case.”
It’s a shame that Boek resorted to a violent stance once he thought that his girlfriend had gone into the Uber, but it’s the path he choose to take. Westlake was put into a difficult position and while some could argue that he should have tried to drive away, he also had the safety of his passenger to worry about.
It’s a sad situation, but it seems that Westlake is justified in his use of his firearm for self-defense.
Judd mentions, after watching the video, how quickly someone needs to make a decision when an incident like this occurs. From the video below, it does seem that Boek has something in his hand while pointing it towards the driver, all while telling the driver that he has a gun.
Had Westlake hesitated and Boek did have a gun, it would have been too late to react. Seconds matter. Even fractions of a second can mean life or death.
After lightening the screen shot a little, it’d be tough to see what he actually has in his hand in the dark. This, coupled with the threat of saying he has a gun and will shoot him is justification enough to warrant self-defense.
As a side note, do you have a dash cam?