This post has been updated since its original posting on Apr 18, 2018 at 6:57 pm.
It's a drag queen mystery. But here's what we know so far.
Last Sunday morning, friends and fans of Robbie Turner, a Seattle performer who was on season eight of RuPaul's Drag Race, woke up to this:
Robbie also posted about the incident on Twitter, along with follow-up posts like:
Sometimes, not often enough, we reflect upon the good things
&those thoughts center
around those we ❤️
I think about those people
who mean so much 2 me
& 4 so many years have made me
so very happy
& I count the times I’ve forgotten 2 say
Thank you, & just how much I ❤️ them
— Robbie Turner (@TheRobbieTurner) April 16, 2018
Robbie is a national figure, and the incident immediately and understandably drew support and concern from Turner's fans around the world.
Queerty published a piece saying: "Robbie Turner (aka Jeremy Baird) was the victim of a drunk driving accident over the weekend, and while Turner made it out of the experience physically unharmed, the driver of the Uber he was in lost his life."
NewNowNext wrote: "The driver of Robbie’s Uber was killed—and Robbie lost consciousness, but miraculously survived the crash, walking away with barely a scratch."
Instinct Magazine wrote "this horrific experience... has put things into perspective for Robbie, giving him a platform to spread love and encourage others to thank those closest to them." Instinct also points out though that the incident "has not been confirmed by authorities in the Seattle area."
Instinct, Queerty, and NewNowNext all rely on Turner's social media postings as the only source of information about the incident.
The Stranger has reached out to Robbie Turner several times, but we have not heard back.
We have also contacted Uber and the King County Medical Examiner in an attempt to find out the identity of the driver and any more details available about what happened.
Oddly, Uber knows nothing of one of their drivers being killed in a drunk driving incident last weekend (though Uber knows Robbie because Uber partnered with Robbie on this project last summer).
Yesterday, Uber spokesperson Nathan Hambley told The Stranger by email: "Thanks for reaching out, and really sorry to hear that news. We of course know Robbie and have reached out. We are also looking into the accident, but have no information at this time to believe this occurred on our app. If I find out more today, I'll be back in touch."
When I followed up with Uber again today to find out if any more information had emerged—including links showing that the alleged incident has gone national—Hambley said: "Hi Chase, I just saw that via google alerts, too. We've reached out to a number of folks on this, too—including Robbie—and still haven't heard anything. I'm asking that we reach out to her again. Will let you know what I find out."
When The Stranger contacted the King County Medical Examiner's office (aka the coroner) about their record of fatal vehicular accidents over the weekend, we were directed to Seattle & King County Public Health Communications Director James Apa, who said: "You're wanting to know how many DUI-related car crash fatalities happened over this past weekend. That's not easy for us to say, for a couple reasons. First, there's not an easy way to do a scan of our database to identify car crashes—it takes an investigator going through each record over the weekend to determine the cause and manner. Our medical examiner's office is very tightly staffed, and our investigators usually don't have time to do this search on top of their normal duties. Second, determination of DUI is not done by the KCME, but rather law enforcement."
A spokesperson for the Seattle Police Department said they are "not aware of anything like that occurring, nor are any of my colleagues aware of this accident,” according to the Seattle Gay Scene.
The allegedly fatal accident would have happened after Turner's regular drag show at Queer/Bar on Capitol Hill, sometime late Saturday, April 14, or very early in the morning on Sunday, April 15. The SPD maintains a publicly available dataset of all the police responses to 911 calls within the city. In that dataset, The Stranger found 19 vehicle collisions with Priority 1 injuries reported on Saturday and Sunday.
According to performers who have worked with Robbie Turner, she lives on Capitol Hill. There are only two Capitol Hill incidents on Saturday or Sunday—one of them at Pike and 13th at 10:40 pm on Saturday, and the other on Sunday at 12:51 pm. Neither of those seem to match the timeframe described in Robbie Turner's social media posts.
So now we're left with a bunch of unanswered questions.
Why don't local authorities have any record of this happening? Why doesn't Uber have any record of this happening? Is it not true that an Uber driver died with Robbie Turner in the back seat over the weekend? And if it's not true, why did Robbie Turner dream up the death of an imaginary Uber driver? To elicit sympathy online? To get people to come out to her shows?
None of it makes any sense.
The Stranger has sent three emails to Robbie Turner since Sunday, none of which have been responded to. The moment we hear any more from Robbie Turner, we will update this post—if we hear any more from Robbie Turner.
UPDATE: Robbie Turner's home bar in Seattle, Queer/Bar, confirmed to The Stranger that Robbie Turner will be taking a personal leave from his role as Queer/Bar's Entertainment Director and weekly drag show host. Joey Burgess, Queer/Bar's owner and operator, told The Stranger that "Robbie will be taking some time away to try to figure out what’s best for him."
In a statement released to The Stranger, Queer/Bar confirmed that "the company learned of this supposed incident last weekend from Robbie's social media post. In full support of our friend and manager, we reached out to evaluate Robbie's condition and offer any help with his physical and mental recovery. We also reached out in an attempt to support the driver’s family in their difficult time. And then we discovered some inconsistencies with the story."
The bar intends to continue to produce shows each week and into Pride. "We are welcoming Los Angeles performer Barbie’s Addiction, Kalorie Karbdashian from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10, and Las Vegas performer Nebraska Thunderf*ck as resident hosts from now through June," the bar announced.
The Stranger has still not heard from Robbie Turner.