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Uber driver stops in middle of ride to rape sleeping passenger, police say

uber driver stops ride to rape sleeping passenger
Source: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Unsplash

Dec. 29 2021, Published 9:15 a.m. ET

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A female passenger fell asleep in the vehicle of an Uber and now police say the driver interrupted the ride to stop and rape her.

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On Dec. 16, the victim requested a ride share service in Las Vegas and the driver, identified as 30-year-old Dawed Mekonene, arrived in his green Toyota Camry, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Officials said the victim fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle during the ride and woke up as Mekonene began to sexually assault her.

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Logs from Uber show Mekonene canceled the six-mile ride from the Las Vegas Strip to an apartment complex while it was in progress, but then he restarted it 22 minutes later and delivered the victim to her original destination, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

According to the victim, she pleaded with the driver to stop, but he strangled her until she was unconscious and continued raping her.

Once he was finished, he restarted the fare, took her to her destination, pulled her out of the vehicle and threw the victim's clothes and belongings at her, officials said.

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Police said they used Uber records to identify Mekonene as the driver and they surveillance footage from the apartment that showed the woman being dropped off.

According to authorities, Mekonene first told detectives the woman was “intoxicated” and sleeping but then changed his story to say she was awake and talking on her phone, the Las Vegas Review-Journal stated.

On Dec. 20, Mekonene was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on two counts of sexual assault and one count each of battery by strangulation to commit sexual assault and kidnapping, officials said. However, prosecutors declined to pursue the kidnapping charge.

Bail was set at $200,000 and Mekonene is set to appear in court again on Dec. 30, authorities said.

An Uber spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “The details described by the rider are horrific, and we immediately deactivated the driver. We are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”

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