Calif. ‘Uber’ ride-share driver arrested after keeping drunk woman in a motel overnight
A 32-year-old California ride-share driver was arrested for allegedly taking a drunk woman to a motel instead of her home Monday night and attempting to assault her, KCAL-TV reported.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated. Please see below.
Police said Frederick Dencer encountered the 26-year-old woman outside a Los Angeles-area nightclub after dropping off another fare for the ride-share service Uber. Despite technically being off-duty, Dencer allegedly agreed when a nightclub valet asked him to take the woman away because she was too drunk to get home on her own.
However, because neither the valet nor the woman contacted Uber directly, and she was inebriated, she was not able to provide him with her home address. The woman allegedly had an account with Uber, which allows users to arrange rides through a phone app.
The woman told police on Tuesday morning that she woke up in a motel in Panorama City without knowing how she got there, and that Dencer was on the bed next to her, shirtless. She refused his request to stay in the room, walked to a nearby convenience store and contacted authorities.
“No sexual assault ocurred,” Los Angeles Police Detective Lt. Paul Vernon was quoted as saying. “There was some fondling to her clothes, suggesting what he wanted. She said, ‘No.’ When she awoke in the morning and that happened, she wanted to leave, he did not stop her from leaving.”
Vernon said that when investigators spoke to Dencer in the motel room, “his story didn’t make sense.” Security video from the motel showed him carrying the woman into the room Monday night. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault and is currently being held on $1 million bond. The company has not commented on his arrest.
As Pando Daily reported in January, Uber’s background check policy disqualifies applicants who have been convicted of “violent crimes, sexual offenses, or felonies” over the past seven years.
The incident involving Dencer came to light on the same day as another California Uber driver, 28-year-old Daveea Whitmire, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery for an altercation with a customer in San Francisco.
Forbes reported that Whitmire is not only on probation on separate battery charges, but has felony convictions from 2009 and 2012 on his record for drug-related offenses. Uber told Forbes that Whitmire passed a background check conducted by another firm, Hirease.
Update, 9:57 p.m. EST: Uber spokesperson Eva Behrend said in a statement to The Raw Story on Tuesday night that the company had suspended Dencer’s account and is cooperating with the police investigation.
“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,” Behrend said in the statement.
Watch KCAL’s report on Dencer’s arrest, as aired on Tuesday, below.
[Image via Uber official Facebook page]