Uber driver allegedly assaulted for 90 minutes by passenger
EAST BRAINERD, Tenn. (WTVC) - An Uber driver in Tennessee was allegedly raped by a drunk passenger, an alleged assault that went on for 90 minutes while first responders were unable to find the victim’s exact location.
According to an affidavit, 36-year-old Zachery Johnson was called an Uber about 9 p.m. Saturday by an employee at a Chili’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee, because she believed the restaurant regular had too much to drink to drive himself home.
Court documents detail the violent encounter that allegedly happened afterward between Johnson and the female Uber driver.
The report says the suspect “became aggressive with her and came out of his seat and began assaulting her. He wrapped his arms around her, grabbed her by the throat and began kissing her face.”
The victim’s boyfriend called 911 after hearing the alleged assault over the phone, but the arrest affidavit says it took law enforcement almost 90 minutes to finally find her vehicle, with the suspect and victim still inside.
First responders were unable to use cell phone data or the Uber app to find the driver’s exact location. They also worked with Hyundai, the maker of her vehicle, in an attempt to locate and help her.
None of the attempts worked.
“This is an unusual call. I’ve not seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Carney with Hamilton County 911. “Even, you know, 2022, the cell phone accuracy is just really not what people probably think it is.”
The victim was finally able to make a call to 911 herself, in which dispatchers could hear her crying. She told them she was in a cul-de-sac in East Brainerd, where she was then located. It was about three miles away from the Chili’s restaurant where she picked up Johnson.
“They were out searching really relentlessly for an hour and a half until they were able to find this victim. Nobody gave up. They tried every avenue they could,” Carney said.
Johnson was arrested. He is charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual battery and carjacking.
Uber says the driver’s report of the incident is “gut wrenching.” The company has reached out to her to offer support and is ready to cooperate with investigators. It has also removed the suspect’s access to the rideshare app.
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