An article published by the Los Angeles Times reports that former Lyft driver, Jorge Tapiacastro, is scheduled to be sentenced in October for raping a woman he was driving home in 2019, according to court records.
Tapiacastro was convicted on July 28, 2021 of rape by use of drugs, rape, sexual battery and false imprisonment, all felonies. According to a trial brief by prosecutors, the victim was dropped off by her husband at a friend’s home in Costa Mesa on August 31, 2019, where she drank four or five vodka sodas with a handful of friends.
Prosecutors say that around 9:30 p.m. that night she and two of her friends took an Uber ride to the Bungalow bar in Huntington Beach where she drank three to five more vodka sodas.
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on September 1, the woman used the Lyft app to call for a ride home. She was picked up around 12:50 a.m. by Tapiacastro, who pulled over about a half mile from her residence in Orange, got out and then got into the backseat with the victim, who said she had passed out.
Tapiacastro told the woman she was “beautiful” before he forced himself on her for a few minutes. Then he got out, and the woman also exited the vehicle before the defendant drove off. The woman called her friend and told her she was raped and didn’t know where she was. Her friend told her to call her husband and she told him the same. Her husband managed to find her around La Veta Avenue and Glassell Street and took her home before later taking her to a local hospital.
Fortunately, Tapiacastro is now locked behind bars, but this case underscores how vulnerable riders are when they trust their safety to a complete stranger. This is why the team at Estey & Bomberger will continue to advocate for victims. Uber and Lyft are reluctant to make the changes necessary to protect their customers, and until they do, we will work tirelessly to hold them accountable for the crimes committed by their drivers.