Former Lyft driver sentenced to 13-years in prison for kidnapping and rape
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Former Lyft driver sentenced to 13-years in prison for kidnapping and rape

Back in 2020, we reported on Larry Ward, a former Lyft driver who stood accused of kidnapping and raping a passenger after she hailed a ride following a night of drinking. KSDK St. Louis reports on Monday, October 3, 2023, Ward pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape after abducting and sexually assaulting Cristen Giangarra during a ride home from a bachelorette party at a downtown bar on June 22, 2019.

Ward rejected a plea deal in April, 2023, opting instead to take the case to trial. Bob Taaffe, Ward’s attorney, instructed the judge his client decided to enter a blind plea on the first day of his trial. Evidence against Ward included data from Giangarra’s cell phone showing the time and place she was picked up, how long the $9.02 ride lasted, an image of Ward on the receipt, and a rape kit performed following the assault.

Ward’s victim comes forward to bring attention to Lyft’s failures

Giangarra chose to be identified to bring to light the widespread problem of rideshare drivers raping passengers. Also, to illustrate the lack of safety and oversight present in Lyft’s background checks. Giangarra alleges that Lyft cut corners on criminal background checks, allowing Ward to drive from the company despite his criminal history. According to her claims, the company had already refused to hire him once when a prior background check revealed he had committed felony crimes in the past.

During her victim impact statement, Giangarra told the court that she now takes anti-seizure medication to prevent panic attacks, and grinding her teeth in her sleep has worn away her dental enamel, effecting her oral and overall health. The judge praised Giangarra for her strength and courage during and after the attack she suffered.

More needs to be done to protect passengers

While rideshare companies have recently introduced updates to their apps in an attempt to better protect their passengers, these attacks still happen every day. We know, because we hear from survivors of Uber and Lyft driver sexual assaults every day. Putting profits before people is not how companies people depend on for transportation should be operated.

Until rideshare riders are safe from drivers, the team at Estey & Bomberger, LLP., will continue to advocate for victims of Uber and Lyft driver sexual assault. We stand with survivors in an effort to force these companies to change their business practices. Until they do, we will continue to fight for those who have been harmed.

Help is available for survivors of Lyft driver sexual assaults

If you or a loved one is a survivor of a sexual assault by an Uber or Lyft driver, our team of compassionate legal professionals can help you seek the justice you deserve. Our law firm includes certified sexual assault victim advocates to assist our clients at every step of the way. We understand the life-shattering impact victims suffer and do everything within our power to provide the resources necessary to move forward from these dark times.

So that everyone can afford our services, we don’t collect a fee unless we win your case. Our rideshare sexual assault lawyers have a perfect record holding Uber and Lyft drivers and the companies that employ them accountable for their actions. When you choose our law firm, we will work tirelessly until you achieve justice and fair compensation for the trauma you live with everyday.

To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation, contact us today.