An Uber driver from Greenbelt, Maryland was arrested and is facing charges of kidnapping and assault of a female passenger. 29-year-old Westagne Pierre picked up the intoxicated woman outside of a bar in the Washington, DC after the woman’s friends requested a ride. Instead of taking the woman home to Fairfax, VA, Pierre took her to a nearby College Park Budget Inn motel where he is accused of assaulting her.
Surveillance video from outside the motel show Westagne carrying the unconscious woman from his vehicle to a motel room. Video footage shows that Pierre spent some time in the room with the woman who had been limp when carried in. Authorities also say that Pierre used the victims credit card at a 7-11 not far from the hotel where he left her.
Westagne Pierre is facing charges of kidnapping, theft and assault with additional charges pending. The nature of the assault on the woman has not been clarified, but as is common with victims of sexual assault, her name has not been released. The only identifying information released so far on the passenger turned victim is that she lives in Virginia.
Pierre’s attorney, Esteban Gergely, is not denying that something sexual occurred in the motel room. In fact, he has been quoted as saying that his client denies there was a lack of consent the night he took the woman to the Budget Inn per The Washington Post.
Pierre’s story of consent may not fly with Prince Georges County Police who are investigating these allegations. The Budget Inn’s security cameras captured Pierre on 3 separate occasions. Once as he exited his car to enter the lobby and pay for a room, again as he returns to his car and pics the victim up off the back seat and physically carried her limp body, feet not touching the ground, to the room. Pierre can be seen a third time on camera as he leaves the motel room alone and returns to his vehicle.
Charging documents show that Westagne Pierre was arrested after police matched surveillance footage from the Budget Inn and 7-11with Pierre’s driver’s license photo. Pierre was initially given a $150,000 bail which was reduced due to lack of substantial evidence and he was released on a $250 bond.
It’s obvious Pierre’s attorney is hoping the woman’s extreme intoxication will help his client get off. “The facts of the case are very peculiar and they fall extremely short of being incriminating,” Gergely has said. “There were no facts in the statement of charges that suggested he did any injury or trauma.” In last week’s bail hearing the lawyer told a judge “She’s saying she doesn’t remember anything,” followed by, “If she doesn’t remember anything, she certainly doesn’t remember saying, ‘I don’t want these things to happen.’ ”
Uber has been contacted and immediately removed Wetsagne Pierre as a driver on the app. “This is deeply upsetting,” Uber spokeswoman Brooke Anderson told The Washington Post. “The driver has been banned from the app and we have been working closely with police to support the investigation.”
It’s been a rough year for Uber as it deals with the multiple crimes committed by drivers under the brand. In February, a Brooklyn Uber driver was accused of pulling out his penis and sexually assaulting a female passenger.It was also February when a Kalamazoo, Michigan driver went on a shooting spree, killing six and injuring more between fares. In July of this year Two Uber drivers were arrested while on duty in California and Michigan, one on drugs and weapons charges and the other on sexual assault of a passenger.
More and more we are relying on technology and apps to live our lives. Ride share apps and car services like Uber and Lyft in theory are great ideas but is easy access to a ride worth your safety or your life? There have been too many incidents with Uber drivers this year to list but if you sue the app I suggest you do your research.
And people please remember: If your female friend is too drunk to get herself home, it’s NOT a good idea to put her in a car with a man that neither of you know. Be a REAL friend and take your friend home with you or go home with them. Luckily the young woman was assaulted and robbed, not murdered, sold in to human trafficking or worse. Hopefully she can heal from this and hopefully Uber will find some real way of assuring its riders are safe and not just taking their money.