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Man arrested for allegedly slitting throat of Uber driver in West Valley

(MCSO photo)

PHOENIX — A man was arrested for allegedly slitting the throat of an Uber driver in the West Valley, less than a week after a pregnant woman was stabbed to death in Tempe while working as a Lyft driver.

Francisco Diaz, 46, was booked Thursday into a Maricopa County jail on one count of attempted second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Diaz is accused of slashing the throat of the unidentified driver with a knife and fleeing once the driver dropped him off at a neighborhood near Interstate 10 and 91st Avenue in Tolleson on Wednesday night.

“What the driver experienced is frightening. There’s nothing more important than the safety of the drivers and riders we serve,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM. 

“We are relieved he is recovering and stand ready to help police in their investigation.”

Court documents obtained by KTAR News said the driver told police that, as he approached the drop-off location, Diaz pointed to a residence and told the driver, “Right there.”

When the driver turned to look where Diaz was pointing to, he felt a “warm liquid” run down his neck and realized his throat was slit.

The driver then “started struggling with (Diaz) from the front driver seat.” Court documents said the driver had several deep cuts on his left hand and more injuries on his right.

Once Diaz fled the scene, the driver attempted to drive himself to the hospital.

When Goodyear police arrested Diaz on Thursday, he said he believed the driver was was going to harm him and admitted to swinging the knife at the driver and cutting his hands.

The driver’s condition was not immediately available.

Diaz is set to appear in court next on Feb. 7.

Tolleson is about 13 miles west of Phoenix.

The alleged attack came the same week after police say 20-year-old Fabian Durazo stabbed Kristina Howato, 39, to death in Tempe on Sunday before stealing her vehicle and fleeing.

Durazo was booked into the Maricopa County jail on Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of kidnapping, vehicle theft and armed robbery.

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