Woman Says Lyft Driver Sexually Assaulted Her After She Fell Asleep in Car
A California woman said she fell asleep in a Lyft hired to bring her home after a night out and woke to find the car’s driver on top of her.
The woman, who asked to be identified only as Ashley, told Inside Edition she was intoxicated when her friend put her into a Lyft car in Los Angeles.
“I remember him saying I was pretty … he asked if was married. I said yes,” Ashley said.
She fell asleep and woke as she was being assaulted, she said.
“He was trying to put his tongue in me … he was trying to kiss me,” she said. “I was trying to push him off me.”
Ashley’s husband, Joe, had been in touch with her friend who put her in the car and said he realized something was wrong when she didn’t arrive home in the 20 minutes it would have taken to make the drive. He said he went outside looking for her just as the driver was exiting the back seat of the Lyft car.
Joe was able to catch a glimpse of his wife passed out as the driver sped off, he said.
“I am freaking out because I saw her and I don’t know if he is going to rape or kill her,” Joe said.
He called police, who 45 minutes later found Ashley still in the car. Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Ashley is one of four women who have spoken publicly as a new lawsuit is filed in San Francisco against the ride sharing company. In September, attorney Mike Bomberger brought suit against Lyft on behalf of 14 women who say they've been sexually assaulted by drivers. The new suit adds 20 additional alleged victims.
Lyft did not respond to Inside Edition’s most recent request for comment, but in September the company called the allegations “terrifying” and the company said it was committed to providing safe transportation to all riders.
In a statement to Law & Crime, a spokesperson for Lyft said “What these women describe is something no one should ever have to endure."
"Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks," the statement continued. "We recognize these risks, which is why we are relentless in our work to build safety into every aspect of our work. That means continually investing in new features and policies to protect our riders and drivers."
Nearly one in five employees at Lyft are dedicated to initiatives intended to strengthen the platform’s safety, the spokesperson said.
"In just the last few months, we’ve launched more than 15 new safety features — including daily continuous criminal background monitoring of all of our drivers, in-app emergency assistance to make reporting easier for riders, and mandatory feedback for rides rated less than four stars to ensure we are constantly tracking any level of problematic behavior by drivers," the spokesperson continued. "We’ve also partnered with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, to roll out required sexual violence prevention education.
"Our work on safety is never done, and we will continue to invest in new features, protocols, and policies to ensure Lyft is the safest form of transportation for our riders and drivers."
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