Uber Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Sexually Assaulting Passenger in Santa Ana
An Uber driver suspected of holding a woman against her will and then sexually assaulting her in Santa Ana was arrested and held in custody. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Jason Humberto Rodas, 30, of Garden Grove, was assigned to pick up a 51-year-old woman and drive her to her workplace early morning on Sept. 9. Santa Ana police said Rodas told the victim midway through the trip that he would not charge her for the ride, and then began to ask her questions about her sex life.
The suspect then began to drive erratically and refused to let the passenger get off the vehicle, police said. He allegedly threatened to throw her out if she called for help. The victim managed to exit and tried to escape near the 300 block of South Minnie Street, but he caught up to her, and then sexually assaulted her, officials said.
Evidence found at the scene of the crime helped detectives identify Rodas as a suspect. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of crimes including kidnapping with intent to commit rape. Police suspect Rodas may have committed other crimes. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 714-245-9378. The investigation is ongoing.
Last year, Uber released statistics about sexual assaults in its assigned vehicles. The company received 5,981 allegations of serious sexual assault in the United States over two years, according to a report covering 2017 and 2018. The claims range from unwanted touching and kissing to rape. During those two years, 107 people died in crashes involving Uber cars and 19 were killed in physical assaults during or soon after an Uber ride.
Tips for Safety in a Rideshare Vehicle
Here are a few safety precautions rideshare passengers can take for their own safety:
- Share your trip details with others. If you must travel alone, consider taking the carpool option. This allows you to ride with others who have a similar destination.
- Keep your personal information confidential.
- Request your ride before you go outside.
- Sit in the back seat and wear your seatbelt.
- Know your surroundings. You can use the app to follow your driver’s progress before they pick you up. Cancel the request if you are uncomfortable.
- Always verify the identity of the driver and car before you enter the vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been assaulted or injured while riding in a rideshare vehicle, please contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.