Police say Uber driver interrupted ride to rape sleeping passenger

Las Vegas Review-Journal

An Uber driver is accused of raping a female passenger who fell asleep in his vehicle, according to Las Vegas police. Logs provided to police by the ride-sharing service show the driver, Dawed Mekonene, 30, canceled the 6-mile ride on Tuesday from the Strip to an apartment complex in the south valley while it was in progress, then restarted it 22 minutes later and delivered the woman to her destination. When officers questioned him about the gap, Mekonene “attempted to deflect the question” as his leg “started to shake very fast,” his arrest report said. He subsequently asked for a lawyer, cutting off further questioning, police said. Las Vegas Justice Court logs do not show an attorney for Mekonene. Mekonene was booked Tuesday into the Clark County Detention Center on two counts of sexual assault and one count each of battery by strangulation to commit sexual assault and kidnapping. Clark County prosecutors declined to pursue the kidnapping charge, court logs show. Bail was set at $200,000, although it was not clear if Mekonene had posted it. He is next due in court on Dec. 30. The out-of-state visitor told investigators that she fell asleep five minutes into the ride and woke up with the driver sexually assaulting her in the back seat, police said. Ignoring her pleas to stop, she said the driver strangled her into unconsciousness and continued raping her, according to the arrest report. The driver then restarted the fare, took her to her destination, pulled her out of the car and threw her clothes and other belongings at her, the report said.

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