An Uber driver was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 25-year-old woman who had just been released from Tustin police custody following an alleged DUI crash two summers ago, authorities said.
The woman requested the Uber ride as she was leaving the Tustin police station, where she was taken after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
She was picked up by 45-year-old Amir Attia of Tustin and he started driving her to her home in Santa Ana.
“Somewhere along the way, Attia stopped and sexually assaulted the victim,” Santa Ana police said in a news release. “This was confirmed through DNA evidence.”
The incident occurred sometime in July 2018 and investigators got a DNA match more than a year later, police said.
After being arrested, Attia confessed to sexually assaulting the woman and was booked into an Orange County jail on suspicion of digital penetration and sexual battery, police said.
Bail was set at $150,000 for Attia, who had a previous conviction for sexual battery from 1993, according to Santa Ana police.
In a statement, Uber described the accusations against the driver as “deeply troubling.” “We removed the driver’s access to the app back in 2018 after we learned of this disturbing incident,” the statement reads.
Uber revealed that more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during its U.S. rides in 2018, according to a report released in December.
Uber and Lyft have both faced harsh criticism for not doing enough to protect the safety of their riders. Nine people filed a lawsuit saying they were sexually assaulted by “fake Uber drivers” in Los Angeles and accuse the company of failing to warn them about the threat.
Lyft is facing lawsuits from dozens of women.
Anyone with information about the Santa Ana case, or those who believe they may have been victimized by Attia, can call Corporal Maria Lopez at 714-245-8542 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can also be given to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.
Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect date for the alleged sexual assault. This story has been updated.