Police say a 22-year-old woman was pinned down and sexually assaulted in an Uber Saturday after hailing a ride from Manassas, Va., to her home in Woodbridge, Va.
Prince William County police identified the driver as Cristian Yovani Zelada-Avalo, 37, and arrested him Tuesday on charges of object sexual penetration and abduction with intent to defile.
According to police, Zelada-Avalo picked up the woman at 3:15 a.m. Saturday after she requested a ride home through the app. At some point during the trip, police said, Zelada-Avalo “held the victim down” and sexually assaulted her.
The woman text messaged an acquaintance to meet her at home when she arrived in Woodbridge.
“When the victim arrived at her home, she was able to get away from the accused who then left the area,” police said.
Police identified Zelada-Avalo in the ensuing days and found him at his home near Ginny Way and Shannon Lane in a Manassas subdivision. He was arrested Tuesday, charged and held without bond, police said.
An Uber spokesman said Zelada-Avalo had been driving for the app for eight months.
“This report is appalling and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time,” the spokesman said. “The driver has been removed from the app and we’ll work to help police in any way we can with their investigation.”
The incident came a week after a woman was sexually assaulted on the American University campus by a man she thought was driving for Uber, according to police.
In that case, El Honcine Jourhdaly, 36, was charged one count of first-degree sexual abuse and kidnapping. Police said the vehicle driven by Jourhdaly had an Uber sticker on its passenger window. A company spokeswoman said Jourhdaly had been a driver until 2015, when he was removed for reasons the company declined to specify.