An off-duty Uber driver has been arrested and accused of kidnapping, after he allegedly picked up a drunk woman from a nightclub and took her to a motel.
"Police say the driver, 32-year-old Frederick Dencer from Encino, takes her far from the nightclub to this Panorama City motel. He literally carries her in." (Via KTTV)
Uber is a citizen taxi service, powered by drivers who, according to the company, go through a vetting process to become a qualified driver.
KCBS reports the next morning the woman woke up next to the shirtless driver. She left the motel and called police from a 7-11 convenience store.
The outlet says the woman "was able to point out the Panorama Motel to investigators," and police located and arrested the suspect who was still inside. (Via KCBS)
Police say after questioning the man, they determined the woman was too drunk to tell the driver where she lived. They believe it was at this point the man decided to take advantage of the situation.
KTLA spoke with Lieutenant Paul Vernon who explained how the off-duty Uber driver knew the woman needed a ride in the first place.
LT. Paul Vernon: "He ended up getting this fare being solicited by a valet who saw her coming out of the night club so drunk, and he knew that this guy gave rides. So he suggested 'Hey, do you wanna take her home?.'" (Via KTLA)
LA Weekly also spoke with LT. Vernon who said sexual assault didn't take place, but "by her description he fondled her over her clothes and suggested he wanted to have sex, but he didn't force it."
According to several reports, Uber only learned of the incident after several media sources contacted the company for questions. The company has since released a statement, which reads in part:
"The facts are unknown at this stage and it’s certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident, as the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the platform at the time. ... It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver's account following any serious allegations, which we have done. Nothing is more important to Uber than the safety of our riders." (Via Uber)
Dencer has been charged with suspicion of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault. His bail is set at $1 million.