An 18-year-old Texas woman told authorities that her Uber driver took her to his apartment against her will and touched her inappropriately. The Uber driver has been arrested. The driver, 55-year-old Michael Olu-Wehuje was picked up by Travis County deputies and the alleged victim is speaking out to local media.
The alleged victim, Regina Lara, told the local KXAN:
She said they got back in the car, but he didn’t take her home. Instead, he pointed out his apartment. He said, “You see those apartments right there? I live there,” said Lara, who said Olu-Wehuje asked if she wanted to see them and she told him no.
Court documents state, “Instead of taking her back home, he drove to his apartment and told Regina to get out and come inside his apartment. Regina states she was afraid for her safety since he did not drive her home.”
Lara said the driver stood behind her and told her to walk, opened the apartment door, and immediately locked the door. She said he told her to sit on the couch, put on cartoons, offered her beer and wine and sat next to her.
Another local news outlet found another angle to report and addressed Uber and background checks for their drivers. KEYE News wrote, “Uber Driver Arrested, Debate Over Background Checks Continues.” They assert that the driver had a previous conviction for theft under $500. They wrote:
According to Williamson County records, Olu-Wehuje had a previous arrest for theft under $500. That may not show up under a typical Uber background check.
“You can’t have any convictions of any serious crimes over the last seven years,” Uber driver Anthony Nguyen said.
Nguyen says that includes no DWI’s, felonies and you can’t be on the sex offender registry. He also says Uber can cancel any driver’s account immediately.
“They don’t tolerate any bad behavior from any drivers,” Nguyen said.
However, Nguyen says Uber does not do fingerprint background checks. That’s something taxi cabs and limousine companies do have to do in Austin.
Traditional transportation services, such a taxi cab companies, have organized stiff resistance to companies like Uber across the nation. Even various Texas cities have stepped in with regulations that restrict or pose difficulties for the newer models of transportation. As Sarah Rumpf wrote previously for Breitbart Texas, San Antonio imposed strict rules that risked choking out Uber:
Uber, the ride-sharing service that lets customers summon transportation using a smartphone application, has announced it will make good on its threat to cease doing business in San Antonio, Breitbart Texas has learned. The San Antonio City Council passed a new ordinance last December in a 7-2 vote, to be effective on March 1, and Uber says that if the ordinance is allowed to go into effect, they will leave the city.
A source at Uber confirmed to Breitbart Texas that San Antonio is the only city in Texas that has passed regulations that the company deemed too burdensome for them to continue operations, and the only one that has received letters threatening to leave the city. The same source told Breitbart Texas that San Antonio Council Member Ron Nirenberg, one of the two who voted against the ordinance, has reached out to Uber, but otherwise Breitbart Texas was not able to confirm any response from the city. The San Antonio Express-News likewise reported that they had reached out to Mayor Ivy Taylor and Council Member Rebecca Viagran for comment, but did not receive a response.
Uber notified their San Antonio area drivers of the situation in an email )embedded at the end of this article) from Uber San Antonio General Manager Henry Carr on Wednesday. The email explains that because San Antonio has passed “an ordinance that applies unworkable regulations,” if it goes into effect, “we will have no choice but to to leave town.”
Carr’s email also points to the “hefty fees on drivers” as one problem with the ordinance: “Austin requires drivers to pay $0.00, Houston only requires $11.01, and San Antonio requires $175.00.” Carr’s email ends by urging Uber’s San Antonio drivers to contact the City Council and ask them to repeal the ordinance.
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