Student reports sexual battery by Lyft driver near dorms


A student reported a sexual battery by a Lyft driver early Thursday morning after falling asleep on the ride home. Panther Archives

A student reported being sexually battered or fondled by a Lyft driver early morning April 26 after falling asleep during the ride home, according to a crime alert email sent from Public Safety Friday morning.

The incident took place on Grand Street outside of the Sandhu Residence Center, according to the email.


Photo illustration by Emma Stessman

“The reporting party awoke to this behavior occurring and exited the vehicle,” the email said.

The suspect was described by witnesses as a gray-haired, white male wearing glasses, and was driving a four-door white or silver vehicle.

The suspect still poses a threat to members of the community, the email said, and anyone with information that may aid in the investigation is encouraged to contact Public Safety.

[Related: Student concerns about ride-share apps are ‘Lyfting’]

In July, a Chicago Lyft driver was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, armed robbery and unlawful restraint, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The woman who he allegedly assaulted had used the Lyft app on her phone to order a ride home from a bar because she felt she had had too much to drink. The driver then pulled his car into an alley, tied her with a zip tie and forced her to perform oral sex on him, the Tribune reported.

“These allegations are sickening and horrifying,” Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell told the the Tribune in a statement. “As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we deactivated the driver’s account and did everything we could to assist law enforcement.”

Representatives from Lyft and the Orange Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

[Related: Editorial | Ride-sharing shouldn’t be scary]

This is a developing story. Follow The Panther as we continue reporting.