Fort Bragg soldier receives upgraded charge in Uber driver assault case

Joseph Sime

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Fort Bragg soldier charged with assaulting an Uber driver in February now faces a felony assault charge.

Vernon Williams, 56, was hospitalized for three weeks following the February 5 assault.


Williams said he responded to a requested pickup but could not fit the large group into his vehicle, Williams wrote in a criminal complaint.

The group became verbally abusive, according to the complaint.

When he canceled the trip, Williams said he was assaulted.

RELATED: Fayetteville Uber driver says soldier’s punch led to brain injuries

The assault occurred outside Huske Hardware House on Hay Street. A manager for the bar said Sime’s group, which included other soldiers, appeared intoxicated.

In March, doctors believed Williams make a full recovery after suffering brain injuries in the assault.

But on Thursday, doctors now believe Williams has permanent brain damage.

“I gotta look at this scar, probably 15-20 inches, for the rest of my life,” Williams said.

Joseph Sime, 23, was originally faced a misdemeanor assault charge.

Vernon Williams

But that charge was upgraded to felony assault.

“They’re trained killers. That’s what Fort Bragg trains them to do and then you go get inebriated at a bar and unleash your fury on me,” Williams said.

During the assault, Williams said he was called the “n-word.”

He also believes he was attacked by more than one person.

Williams underwent brain surgery followed by physical, occupational and speech therapy.

“He may take what I just said totally different from what I said. So I have to repeat it to him,” Williams’ wife, Fran, said.

Before the assault, Williams worked as an IT analyst.

But now, although he’s back home, many of his cognitive functions are not up to par.

Williams says tech work that he use to complete in an hour now takes him three days to complete.

“I hate it and if I could change it I would. It’s just wrong. It’s wrong,” Williams said.

Sime did not return CBS North Carolina’s calls for comment about this case.

Sime is due back in court next month.

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