Cell phones provide evidence in sexual assault case against Las Vegas Uber driver

Local News

Dawed Mekonene (Credit: LVMPD)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An Uber driver is facing charges after being accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger who was visiting Las Vegas and fell asleep in his car.

An unexplained gap in time during an Uber ride is just some of the evidence police gathered in the case against 30-year-old Dawed Mekonene. He is facing felony charges of sexually motivated kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery by strangulation to commit sexual assault. He was arrested on Dec. 20, 2021.

According to his arrest report, he picked the female passenger up around 11 p.m. on Dec. 16, and a few minutes after she settled into the back seat she fell asleep. She told police, she woke up to Mekonene getting into the back seat and trying to kiss her while removing her skirt. The woman said she fought back but was unsuccessful in stopping the sexual assault. She told police she believed “she was gonna die.”

The report said at one point Mekonene put one hand on her mouth and the other hand on her throat making it hard for her to breathe and she “blacked out.”

The woman told police when she woke, Mekonene dragged her out of the car and threw her clothes at her. She entered a nearby building and asked for help, the report said. She then went to a hospital to undergo a sexual assault exam.

Police checked the woman’s cell phone against Mekonene’s to see if the times and locations matched for the Uber ride pickup and destination and according to the arrest report they did. However, there was a 22 to 24-minute time gap that police questioned Mekonene about but the report said he deflected the question and asked for an attorney.

Uber did release a statement in regards to this arrest:

“The details being described by the rider are horrific and we immediately deactivated the driver. We are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”

Uber

Uber did say all drivers must go through background checks. Uber also said if a passenger is in an emergency situation they can text 911 through the app and a message will be autogenerated to include all the car’s information including its location to dispatchers.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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