Former Uber driver Josh Ruiz was taking a fare through Lower Queen Anne around 3 a.m. on May 14 when the handgun in his passenger’s waistband allegedly went off, the bullet penetrating Ruiz’s seat and striking him in the lower back.

An artery in his pelvis was severed, and Ruiz was rushed to Harborview Medical Center to undergo surgery to save his left leg, which needed to be re-vascularized to restore blood flow.

Passenger Chad Strode was charged with third-degree assault, and is due back in court on Aug. 8.

Ruiz is staying with family in Texas, still recovering from his injury following multiple surgeries.

“It’s hard for me to be mobile,” he said. “I have limited mobility in my left leg, and I can’t really move my foot at all.”

Strode, 29, told officers he’d had 7-8 shots of tequila at a park on Capitol Hill before hailing the Uber. He said he decided to get out at  Fourth and Mercer to continue walking home.

“Strode said that as he was exiting the rear driver’s side seat of the car, his gun discharged and that the victim was shot,” the report states. “He reported that he does not have a holster for his gun and that he had it in the waistband of his pants.”

But Ruiz said he’d been driving 35-40 mph, at Fifth and Mercer, when the gun went off. He said he wonders if it wasn’t an accident; it’s hard to understand how the gun could have accidentally discharged in Strode’s waistband and struck him in the back. Growing up around guns in Texas, he said he also didn’t understand why a bullet had been in the chamber of Strode’s 9mm.

“Literally, the last thing on my mind was that this person had shot me, because there was no confrontation,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said he received a call from Harborview after he was released from the hospital, but has had no follow up with SPD.

Even if Strode is ordered to pay restitution at the outcome of his case, Ruiz doesn’t believe the 29-year-old can afford to cover his medical bills. He said he doesn’t see the point in staying mad at Strode, and he’s inclined to forgive him.

“Regardless of what happened, it’s not going to change the fact this guy gets prosecuted, this guy gets off, but my leg is still paralyzed and f***ed up.”

Ruiz has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to cover his medical expenses.

He had full insurance coverage on his car, but did not buy into a protection plan offered by Uber. Ruiz had been driving for Uber for 2 1/2 years before he was injured.

Uber provided this statement, which is the same as what it provided to KOMO for its report:

“Our thoughts are with the driver during this time, and we will continue to work with him through this process. The rider’s access to the app was removed.”

Ruiz said he has not been in communication with Uber, and the company had never pushed him to sign up for the driver injury protection plan. He said the deductible for Uber’s auto insurance was $1,000 just for the vehicle.

Uber spokesperson Andrew Hasbun confirmed Ruiz’s injury would have been covered under the plan, which covers medical expenses, disability payments and survivor benefits.

Ruiz said his hope is to eventually be able to return to Seattle and pursue a business startup he’s been developing.

“I think that’s the hardest part about this is having to accept that I can’t do the things I was able to do before,” he said.