Police: Uber Driver Sexually Assaulted Passenger, More Victims May Be Out There

Image courtesy of Uber

An Uber driver in southern California has been arrested “on suspicion of various sexual assault crimes” after he was accused of parking his van and sexually assaulting a sleeping passenger near her home. Now police have put the word out that they’re looking for other possible victims.

TV station KTLA reports that the woman’s friends ordered her a ride home from a “company gathering” on Thursday because she was intoxicated. She fell asleep during her ride home, and told police that she woke up when the driver was assaulting her in the back seat.

She escaped and called police. While the suspect had already left the area, Uber cooperated to help the cops find the suspect, who had been driving for the app-based service for about a year.

The police in Santa Ana released the suspect’s photo because they believe that this was not his first offense. They’re asking people who may have encountered him and seen him display any “inappropriate or assaultive behavior,” with ride-hailing app passengers or otherwise.

“This was more than likely not the first time he’s done it, whether he’s done it as an Uber driver or in his personal life,” a police officer told KTLA. “You don’t just start out by violently sexually assaulting females while they’re passed out — you work your way up to that.”

This isn’t even the first allegation that a ride-hailing app driver assaulted a passenger in the last year: In November, a driver was charged with raping an unconscious 17-year-old in the same county in California.

Other sexual assault incidents in the last year have occurred in Atlanta, the Silicon Valley, Miami, and San Diego.