Washington state man accused of posing as Uber driver, raping Seattle woman

Washington state man accused of posing as Uber driver, raping Seattle woman

News Staff

A Washington state man accused of posing as a ride-sharing driver and raping a woman he picked up outside a Seattle bar in December was arrested this week.

The woman told police that on Dec. 16 her friend called an Uber for her and the suspect “led her to believe that he was her Uber driver,” according to a statement of probable cause. While driving her home, the man pulled over and raped the woman, the King County Sheriff’s Office said.

He then drove the woman home. Authorities were not able to identify the man until this week after releasing photos on social media from a surveillance video that showed him outside the woman’s house the day of the assault.

The suspect, 34, of Tukwila, Washington, saw the images and went to a police station to “clear his name,” a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said. After giving detectives at the police station his information, the suspect, who was accompanied by his wife, was allowed to leave. They then went to the woman’s home to confront her, police said.

“Deputies were dispatched and he was detained,” police said. “He first lied to detectives and made up a fake story about where he was. After his wife confronted him about it, he then said that he picked up the victim, pulled over and had sex with her, and then drove her home. He said he thought she was consenting, but he admitted that she was intoxicated.”

Deputies said because the woman was inebriated she was “unable to effectively communicate that she was not consenting to sex.”

The suspect was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and booked into the King County Jail for investigation of rape. He’s expected to be charged on Monday, a police spokesman said.

Last month, a South Carolina college student was killed after getting into a car she mistakenly thought was her Uber. Samantha Josephson, 21, a student at the University of South Carolina, was reported missing on March 29 after she failed to return home from a night out with friends.

Her body was found hours later in a wooded area about 65 miles from Columbia in Clarendon County. A suspect, Nathaniel Rowland, is in custody facing charges of kidnapping and murder.

Following Josephson’s death, the University of South Carolina launched a campaign called “What’s My Name” urging people to ask ride-sharing drivers to say their name before getting into the car.

Uber has listed a range of tips on how riders can stay safe which include customers checking that the license plate number and photo of the driver matches what’s being shown on the app.