Just in the last few months, we've written about at least 3 cases of assault against Uber or Lyft passengers by drivers. This has been reported as a problem since even before the Uber report on sexual assaults was released and it continues to be a problem. Passengers and even drivers are put into rideshare vehicles without knowing anything about the other person and Uber has done little to change that.
Orange County Uber Driver Charged with Assaulting Passenger
In August, a 51-year-old woman requested an Uber ride on the app to take her to work at about 4 a.m. Jason Humberto Rodas accepted the fare and went to pick up the passenger. However, instead of taking the woman to her job, the 30-year-old driver drove around randomly.
Rodas reportedly began asking the woman questions about her sex life. The driver then switched off the Uber app and said the ride would be free. The driver then pulled over on a side street in Santa Ana and stopped.
The woman got out of the car but Rodas is accused of grabbing her, choking her, and attempting to sexually assault the woman. A security guard heard the woman scream and came to her aid. The woman broke away but says she is now terrified because the assailant knows where she lives, thanks to the Uber app.
Days later, another woman also reported Rodas for making threats and strangling her. She contacted the police and Rodas was arrested. Rodas is now facing felony charges of kidnapping to commit rape, assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, attempted forcible rape, assault with force, and making criminal threats. The Uber driver is being held on $1 million bail.
How Do Criminals Continue to Work as Uber Drivers?
It may be surprising to many that Uber and Lyft drivers can continue to sexually assault passengers, make inappropriate sexual comments, or threaten passengers. However, many people who are victims of sexual assault or attempted assault fail to come forward to report what happened. Victims may feel ashamed or worry that no one will believe them or the assailant will come back to harm them.
- In December 2018, a Lyft driver was charged with felony criminal sexual assault after allegedly raping a Lyft passenger in Chicago.
- In May 2020, a Florida Lyft driver was charged with battery after pushing a passenger and spitting in her face. The passenger got out when the driver was not going towards the destination and driving erratically.
- In July 2020, an Uber driver was charged with sexual assault and indecent exposure against a passenger in Massachusetts.
Uber's 2018 report found more than 3,000 sexual assaults reported during Uber rides, with another 2,936 the year before. However, the number of actual assaults may be much higher. Victims, like the woman in Santa Ana, may be afraid of coming forward because the driver has their address and knows where they live. Based on the ride taken, they may also know where the victim works.
Rideshare Assault and Injury Victims
Uber and Lyft make a lot of claims about their training and selection standards but the evidence shows that passengers are at risk of injury or sexual assault by dangerous drivers. If you or a loved one was injured in a Lyft or Uber accident in the greater Denver metropolitan area, please do not hesitate to contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here to help.