An Uber driver was arrested after allegedly choking and sexually assaulting a woman as she was trying to get out of his vehicle during a ride early Wednesday, Santa Ana police said.
The incident occurred about 4 a.m., when the 51-year-old victim requested an Uber ride to get to work.
The driver, later identified as 30-year-old Jason Rodas, at one point canceled the ride and told the victim it would be free, police said in a news release.
Rodas then allegedly asked the victim questions about her sex life, before she became frightened and demanded he take her to work.
Rodas allegedly threatened to throw the victim out of the vehicle if she alerted authorities, police said.
The suspect didn’t stop the ride and drove erratically until getting to the 300 block of South Minnie Street. That’s when the victim jumped out of the vehicle in an attempt to escape, but Rodas “quickly caught her,” police said.
Rodas then allegedly placed the woman in a choke hold, strangled her and sexually assaulted her.
It is unclear how the victim got away, but Rodas was arrested hours later based on evidence at the scene, police said.
Detectives also served a search warrant at Rodas’ Garden Grove home.
He was booked on suspicion of several sexual assault charges, including kidnapping to commit rape, and is being held on $1 million bail.
“Santa Ana Police Department Detectives believe Rodas may have committed other crimes due to his actions,” officials said.
Anyone with additional information about Rodas or the alleged crimes can contact Detective Julio Gallardo at 714-245-8378 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.