On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, a male Uber driver was arrested after deputies confirmed that he sexually assaulted a woman after dropping her off at her Fort Myers apartment after her ride share was complete. Investigators found the driver to be Felix Torres, 37. On Wednesday, Torres faced a judge during a first appearance hearing. The bond was set at $500,000; if Torres is released, he will have to stay away from the victim’s home.
According to media reports, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce the arrest of Torres. Detectives say the victim used an Uber to get a ride home after being out with friends before being attacked. According to LCSO, Torres drove the woman home to the Ashlar Apartments, located at 13001 Corbel Circle in Fort Myers, from a night out on Sunday, December 4.
After letting her out of the vehicle, Torres put on a mask and followed her to her door. The victim was walking to her apartment when Torres came up from behind and threw her to the ground. The victim tried to scream, but Torres covered her mouth. The victim tried to fight him off, but she was overpowered, and Torres sexually assaulted her and drove away with her phone. Detectives from the special victims unit responded immediately to the call. Detectives identified the driver as Felix Torres. They obtained a search warrant and found proof he was the driver that night. Torres was charged with sexual battery, a first-degree felony.
Sheriff Marceno of LCPD also stated that video surveillance shows Torres, masked, running behind the woman to her front door. Marceno also revealed that Torres has past felonies and that Uber is wholly to blame. Detectives found that Torres has an extensive criminal history from out of state, including armed robbery, burglary, and narcotics.
In response to the arrest, Uber made the following statement: “We are sickened by what the rider reported to police. The driver has been banned from the Uber platform, and we are committed to assisting law enforcement however we can.”
Torres appeared in court on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, for his first appearance. The judge set his bond at $500,000, and he will have to wear an ankle monitor. Torres’ next court appearance is scheduled for January 9, 2023.
Rideshare Companies Are Responsible For Drivers’ Behavior
Rideshare services can be a convenient way to get around. Whether you’re traveling or need a ride home after a night out, companies like Uber and Lyft have provided a convenient alternative to taxis or car rentals. However, numerous people have been sexually abused by rideshare drivers in the past few years. A recent report released by Uber, revealed that more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported on the company’s 1.3 billion rides in 2018. Victims were both drivers and riders, including some incidents between riders. In instances of rape, 92% of the reported victims had been riders.
Uber customers have an expectation of proper vetting of their Uber drivers for qualifications, as well as for safety. Many Uber passengers are critical that Uber has not employed technology to deter sexual misconduct and ensure that the safety of their passengers. It is unacceptable that there are employees who take advantage of trusting riders and break the law.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual assault claims on behalf of clients sexually abused by their Uber or Lyft driver. An employee of any company is never permitted to have unwanted sexual contact with a customer. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during an Uber or Lyft ride, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.