New York

Parents of NY Boy in Uber Roof Surfing Death Release Powerful Statement After Driver's Guilty Plea

What to Know

  • An Uber driver has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of a teen passenger he allegedly let ride on his roof last fall
  • The 15-year-old boy, Ryan Mullen, had been riding on the roof Sept. 23, officials say; he fell off and hit his head on the road, then died
  • In a previous statement, Uber told News 4, "Words cannot describe how deeply troubled we are by this" and said the driver was off their app

A former Uber driver pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Thursday in the death of a teenage passenger officials said he let ride on his roof last fall. 

Ryan Mullen fell off the roof and hit his head on the road, then died of injuries related to the trauma. He was only 15. Ryan's parents, Matthew and Janice, said the plea in part helps them close the first chapter of a story they'll have to live with the rest of their lives. But they're also making it their mission to help make sure nothing like what happened to Ryan happens to anyone again. 

Here is the unedited text of the statement they released Thursday: 

"This is a sad day for us. We remain heartbroken. We are sorry for our son Ryan who had his life taken at far too young an age. Our family continues to feel the pain of his loss every moment of every day. 

Despite our deep pain, we appreciate Mr. Cheema accepting responsibility for his actions. Although he made a number of extremely poor and reckless decisions that night, we know that he did not set out to hurt Ryan. He too will have to carry the burden of Ryan’s death with him for the rest of his life. Our thoughts go out to him and his family as well. 

Mr. Cheema’s plea allows us to close the first chapter of a story our family will be living for the rest of our lives. Ryan was an amazing young man who brought happiness to everyone he met. He touched so many lives and was determined to make the world a better place. We will channel our energy into honoring Ryan’s memory and the legacy he leaves behind. 

We consider it our mission and responsibility to make sure that no other family has to endure the pain we face every day. We are actively working to raise awareness and create changes in the laws governing the ride-sharing industry so that companies like Uber recognize and accept the tremendous responsibility they have to properly safeguard their riders. Ryan’s story, and so many others like it across the nation, demonstrate that this is a problem of epidemic proportions that must be addressed urgently and definitively. 

We will also be continuing our work to grow “Strive For Five,” the foundation we established to honor Ryan’s memory. Ryan loved to compete and was an avid soccer player. The mission of “Strive For Five” is to provide educational and athletic opportunities for students in Ryan’s memory. We hope to continue to expand the reach of “Strive for Five” to impact as many young lives as possible. 

In closing, we would like to thank Ryan’s friends, our friends and family and our community for the tremendous outpouring of love and support they have shown us. We would also like to thank the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for their diligence and hard work in bringing the criminal matter to a close. Finally, we would like to thank Judge Camacho for his empathy, valuing our input and respecting our opinions throughout this difficult process for our family."

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