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Woman driving for Uber when she was killed in crash involving DU basketball player

Uber confirmed the passenger who was in the car with Katharina Rothman was her customer.

DENVER — The woman killed by a University of Denver (DU) basketball player was driving for Uber at the time of the crash and had a passenger in the car with her. 

Police said Coban Porter ran a red light before crashing into Katharina Rothman's car. Porter is the brother of Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr.

Rothman was killed in the crash. The passenger in her car was injured but survived. Uber confirmed that the passenger was in the middle of an Uber ride at the time of the crash. 

Police said the crash was caused by Porter. An arrest affidavit shows Coban was speeding, ran a red light, smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech. 

"While Uber and other companies make insurance available to passengers, they consider themselves an internet company, a distinction not all courts have accepted," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson. "As such, they would not be liable because the drivers are independent contractors."

Every time you step into an Uber, Colorado state statute requires the rideshare company to provide riders and drivers injury protection up to $200,000 per person to cover damage caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. Uber says that's specific to rideshare companies and does not apply to taxis or limo companies, for example. In more than 40 states, Uber drivers can also opt-in to optional injury protection, for an additional cost. Uber told 9NEWS that the State of Colorado does not permit Uber to make this coverage available here. 

"Any time you step into a vehicle someone else is driving, you’re taking a bit of a risk," said Robinson. "Rideshare passengers in most circumstances can opt-in for greater insurance through the company, but that’s not free."

Porter was booked into jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide. DU told 9NEWS that Porter is still a student and a member of the men’s basketball team. 

DU’s student honor code states violating any laws or causing harm to other people would be considered a violation and could result in expulsion from the school. DU won’t say whether they are considering kicking Porter off the team or out of school.



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