Chico police investigating ride-share sexual assault claim

Chico police are investigating a sexual assault claim involving Lyft, a popular ride-sharing app.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 4:54 PM
Updated: Jan 29, 2020 10:59 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Chico police are investigating a sexual assault claim involving Lyft, a popular ride-sharing app.

Chico Police Chief Mike O'Brien confirmed to Action News Now that detectives are investigating the sexual assault claim and are working to get information released.

Action News Now spoke to a woman who says she is a friend/roommate of the victim. For the privacy of the victim, we are choosing to keep the name and information of her friend private. 

She says the assault happened outside their apartment in Chico early Wednesday morning. She says the victim was out with other friends and around midnight those friends put her in a Lyft to go home.

"My other roommates wanted to go get some food, but they thought it was better for the other roommate to get home safely and get into bed," said a roommate.

Her friend says when the others got home they realized their friend wasn't there and they started looking outside. 

"Looking for any moving vehicle or anyone trying to drop her off or anything, so at that point, I stepped a little more toward the grass area toward the door. That's where I noticed the vehicle was parked four parking spots away from our door. That's when I saw the light on their dashboard, usually what Uber or Lyft drivers have," said the friend. 

She says one roommate went over there and started screaming. She says that's when the others ran over and found their friend in the backseat of the Lyft, they say she was being assaulted. 

"He was, you know, sexually abusing her without her consent because she could let alone walk or talk, she wasn't going to be able to give consent about what he was doing to her in any type of way. So, we just at that moment focused on getting her out of that vehicle and getting her into the house... I was also able to talk to the Lyft company they contacted me and said they were going to put a new feature because of this."

The friend added Lyft was very helpful and said they'd help with counseling or anything else that the woman need. 

Her friend added she wants everyone to be careful, her friend is currently recovering. 

Action News Now spoke to a Lyft spokesperson about this.

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft," Lyft spokesperson said. "The behavior described is appalling, and we have permanently removed the driver from the Lyft Community. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation." 

The Chico Police Department says detectives are actively conducting an investigation into the sexual assault claim. 

They say these incidents are very complex and require time. We are working to find out if police have anyone in custody, the victim's friend says police told her they did make an arrest. 

RELATED: Chico police release 2019 crime statistics, overall 2% decrease

This report comes on the heels of a new Chico crime report that said rapes are up in Chico, and crime is down in the city.

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