SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – An Uber driver is accused of making sexual advances on a passenger. The young woman is okay, but police are urging everyone to be extra cautious when using the service.
Police say the incident happened last month in Shippensburg when the 22-year-old woman hailed a ride.
“She got into the vehicle and immediately the guy tried to hit on her,” state police Trooper Rob Hicks said.
After an uncomfortable trip, she arrived home, steps from the university campus. That’s when police say 46-year-old Vincent Messan child-locked the doors. According to a police report, he wouldn’t let her out until she eventually gave him a fake number.
“But at that point, he then forced her onto the vehicle and gave her a kiss,” Hicks said.
It’s a worst-case scenario many have been worried about since ride-sharing became the norm.
Walking along the block where it happened, 21-year-old Lauren Stokes said, “I try not to take them by myself most of the time, just for safety.”
Police say that’s a start: travel in groups. But there’s more you can do.
“Take pictures of the registration number,” Shippensburg police Chief Fred Scott said. “Take pictures of the individual.”
That’s how police tracked down this guy. The victim was able to provide his name.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, call police.
“First, before you call 911, get yourself to a secure location. If he sees you on the phone, he might back up, so get yourself to a secure location first, then take safety precautions,” Scott said.
Uber representatives also urge riders to use the app’s driver rating system, which they use to deactivate drivers with negative reviews.
An Uber representative said Messan, charged with harassment, has since been banned from their system.
Uber says each driver goes through an extensive background check. We checked and found Messan did not have a record prior to this incident.