On June 9, 2021, the Omaha World-Herald published an article reporting that Komlanvi Avitso, a former Lyft driver in Omaha, has been convicted of of first-degree sexual assault after raping a 24 year old woman in May of 2019.
According to court records and testimony, the woman had been drinking with friends at an Old Market bar. Around 12:30 a.m., her friends arranged for a Lyft driver to pick her up but her friend punched the wrong destination into the app.
The first Lyft driver to pick the woman up got her near her residence, but the destination was obviously not the woman’s home. Unable to get the exact address out of the woman, the Lyft driver dropped her off at a closed gas station at 96th and Q Streets and called another Lyft driver to come pick her up.
The second driver was Avitso, who arrived around 1:24 a.m. and it was apparent that the woman could get to get sick in his car. He pulled over at another gas station near 120th and Harrison Streets. After a long wait, Avitso went into the gas station and got a clerk to help him enter the bathroom. There, they found the woman asleep on the toilet. Avitso tried to wake the woman but was unsuccessful. After handing her a roll of toilet paper, she woke up a bit and left the bathroom.
He then helped her into the passenger seat of his car.
At around 2 a.m., the two ended up in a parking lot of a deserted business at 119th and P Streets. Cellphone records pinpoint the woman’s phone as being in that place for 42 minutes. According to Avitso’s testimony, he was trying to figure out her destination.
Prosecutors Molly Keane and Nissa Jones, deputy Douglas County attorneys, told jurors that the deserted parking lot was where the rape took place.
After 3 a.m., Avitso unlocked the woman’s phone and found her address in her contacts. He dropped her off about 3:30 a.m.
A few hours later, the woman testified that she remembered vague details that led her to believe she was assaulted. She had memories of pushing a man away, the driver asking if it was her time of the month, and her fingernails hurting as if she had clawed someone. She went to an emergency room. DNA tests confirmed Avitso committed the crime.
Avitso faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in August.