*A woman who had been hanging out with co-workers until the wee hours of the morning before she decided to call an Uber taxi, is now claiming that the driver who picked her up sexually assaulted her.
The Chicago Tribune reports the woman and her friends were on the North Side of the city when she decided to call an Uber in the early hours of November 16. Maxime Fohounhedo was the driver who answered the call around 3 a.m., and asked the woman to ride in the front passenger seat because he did not know the route to her destination.
Uber fancies itself on being “untaxi-like” in this respect; saying it is your choice to ride in the front, as opposed to the back, like a regular taxi.
Fohounhedo claimed that because he didn’t know the directions to get to her place that she should sit in the front to point out where he should go.
But after a few minutes, Fohounhedo started to touch the woman inappropriately and pulled up to a residence the woman was not familiar with. She ended up blacking out. But it’s unclear if this was due to his attack or from being inebriated. When she woke up, the woman told police that Fohounhedo was on top of her in an unidentified residence on the 2600 block of West Lawrence Avenue.
According to the Tribune, Fohounhedo did finally take the woman home after assaulting her, and when she got there, she contacted a friend to tell them that she had been raped. According to the Washington Post, in the police report, officers said that her message to her friend read like this:
“I was just sexually assaulted by my Uber driver and I’m supberb[sic] drunk, but I need someone to remind me to follow through to make sure this never happens again.”
Hours later, she went to police and filed a report. Afterwards, she was taken to the hospital.
Since then, Fohounhedo, who was a driver for the lower cost option UberX, was removed as such by the company and charged by police. He is scheduled for a bond hearing today.
Back when police were first investigating the assault claim, a spokesperson for the company, Jennifer Mullin, had this to say:
“We immediately removed the driver from the Uber platform when we learned of the incident and are cooperating with the Chicago Police Department in the ongoing investigation.
This is an appalling and unacceptable incident, and first and foremost our thoughts are with the victim and her family.”
Mullin also stated that drivers do undergo a “rigorous background check.”
Uber is a car ride-sharing service available in more than 50 countries, and it was picked as USA Today’s tech company of the year in 2013. But Uber has also faced quite a bit of criticism, specifically from taxi companies who oppose it, as well as from people who criticize it for occasional exorbitant trip prices and for putting passengers and other people’s safety at risk.
Read more at MadameNoir.