An article published by Associated Press News reports that on Tuesday December 21, Las Vegas area Uber driver, Dawed Mekonene, was arrested and chared with sexually motivated kidnapping, battery by strangulation with intent to commit sexual assault, and two counts of sexual assault. Mekonene is accused of raping a female passenger who police said fell asleep before waking up as she was attacked during a ride in metro Las Vegas.
The local district attorney’s office ultimately dropped the kidnapping charge against him, but Mekonene remains in jail and is being held on a $200,000 bond pending a court hearing on charges of sexual assault and battery by strangulation to commit sexual assault, according to Clark County Detention Center records.
An article by the Las Vegas Review Journal reports that logs provided to police by the ride-sharing service show that Mekonene canceled the 6-mile ride on Tuesday from the Strip to an apartment complex in the south valley while it was in progress, then restarted it 22 minutes later and delivered the woman to her destination.
According to the arrest report, when officers questioned him about the gap, Mekonene “attempted to deflect the question” as his leg “started to shake very fast.” He subsequently asked for a lawyer, cutting off further questioning.
The out-of-state visitor told investigators that she fell asleep five minutes into the ride and woke up with the driver sexually assaulting her in the back seat. Ignoring her pleas to stop, she said the driver strangled her into unconsciousness and continued raping her.
The arrest report states that Mekonene, after stopping to rape the passenger, took her to her destination at an apartment complex, pulled her out of the car and threw her clothes and belongings at her. According to the report, the woman ran inside and asked the front desk for help.
Police used Uber records to identify the driver as Mekonene, and found apartment surveillance footage that showed the woman being dropped off at the apartment complex. Mekonene first told investigators that the woman was “intoxicated” and asleep, but then changed his story to say she was awake and speaking on the phone, police said.
Police believe there may be other victims as Mekonene said he had been driving for Uber and Lyft for six months. If you believe that you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault by Dawed Mekonene, contact us immediately to explore your legal options and get the help you deserve today. You do not have to remain silent, our Uber sexual assault lawyers will fight for you and keep your identity confidential.