An Uber driver told Fayetteville police he was assaulted by a Fort Bragg soldier outside Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery, and his wife said he's been hospitalized with brain injuries for more than two weeks.

The Police Department’s Aggravated Assault Division is investigating the Feb. 5 incident at 405 Hay St., said Lt. Todd Joyce, a spokesman for the department.

Vernon Williams, 56, an Uber driver, went to the business about 1:05 a.m. to pick up clients, Joyce said. Williams was told that eight people needed a ride and he replied that he could only seat six. That resulted in an argument, and a soldier, identified as Joseph Christopher Sime, 23, allegedly punched Williams in the head, causing him to fall and hurt his knee.

Two off-duty officers working security at the business broke up the disturbance after Williams was hit, Joyce said. They could not file charges against Sime because they did not witness the punch, Joyce said.

The officers advised Williams to go to the Cumberland County Magistrate’s Office and file misdemeanor assault charges.

Williams went to the Police Department the following day and filed a report, Joyce said. The report listed Williams’ injuries as minor.

Sime has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery and is scheduled to appear May 22 in Cumberland County District Court.

On Tuesday, Joyce said, Williams’ wife contacted the Police Department and reported that her husband had suffered a traumatic brain injury, had surgery and had been hospitalized for more than two weeks.

Joyce said that was the first police learned of the severity of Williams’ injuries.

Williams and his wife declined to meet with detectives without the presence of their lawyer, identified as Allen Rogers of Fayetteville.

Investigators met with them late Wednesday, Joyce said, and the case was still being reviewed Friday morning.


©2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story ran with an incorrect headline that implied Sime suffered from a traumatic brain injury; however, the Uber driver, Williams, is the one alleged to have a TBI by his wife. (Updated 4/4/2017; 9:03 pm)