A Kentucky woman has been charged with murder after allegedly shooting her Uber driver in West Texas. Phoebe Copas, 48, was arrested and charged last week in the death of 52-year-old Daniel Piedra Garcia. According to the El Paso Police Department, Copas fatally shot Garcia on U.S. Route 54 as he was driving her to a destination in El Paso’s Mission Valley on June 16.
During the ride, Copas saw traffic signs that read “Juarez, Mexico,” and mistakenly believed she was being kidnapped and taken to Mexico. She then allegedly grabbed a handgun from her purse and shot Piedra in the head. The vehicle crashed into barriers before coming to a stop on a freeway. Piedra was hospitalized for several days before his family took him off life support after doctors told them he would not recover.
Copas was initially charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, but after Piedra’s death, police brought murder charges against her. She is being held on a $1.5 million bond and court and jail records did not list an attorney who could speak for her.
Piedra’s niece, Didi Lopez, described him as a hardworking man who was always in a good mood and would try to lift others up. He was the sole provider for his family and had only recently started working again after being injured in his previous job. A GoFundMe campaign set up by Piedra’s family aims to provide financial support for his funeral expenses.
The investigation does not support that a kidnapping took place or that Piedra was veering from Copas’ destination. The area where the car crashed was “not in close proximity of a bridge, port of entry or other area with immediate access to travel into Mexico,” according to an arrest affidavit. Police allege that before she called 911, Copas took a photo of Piedra after the shooting and texted it to her boyfriend.
Copas, who is from Tompkinsville, Kentucky, was in El Paso visiting her boyfriend at the time of the shooting. She remains jailed in El Paso and is expected to appear in court soon.