On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, the St. Petersburg Police arrested Uber driver Jose Antonio Canales Sanchez and charged him with sexual battery and false imprisonment. According to media reports, Uber driver Canales Sanchez, 51, picked up a 32-year-old woman in his vehicle around 6:30 am. Before reaching her designated destination, Canales Sanchez pulled into a parking lot, entered the backseat of the car where the woman was sitting and began undressing her against her will and touching her private parts. Investigators said the woman was able to fight him off and escape. She then reported the incident to the police. Police arrested and charged Sanchez later that day and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. He was bonded out of the Pinellas County Jail around 1 am Thursday morning.
A spokesperson from Uber released a statement, “The reported details of this incident are disturbing, and this type of conduct is not tolerated on the Uber platform. Reports like this are taken seriously at Uber, and we removed the driver’s access to the app as soon as this was reported to us. We are in touch with law enforcement regarding their investigation.”
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 expect 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 the safety of their passengers. It is unacceptable that some employees 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 drivers. 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.