Dawed Mekonene, 30, was arrested Monday on sexually motivated kidnapping charges and other counts after the female victim told police she awoke to find him attacking her in his green Toyota Camry during a ride on Dec. 16, Las Vegas police said.
“After the assault, the victim was driven to the originally requested destination,” cops said in a statement Tuesday announcing Mekonene’s arrest.
In addition to the kidnapping charge, Mekonene was booked into jail on two counts of sexual assault and battery by strangulation with intent to commit sexual assault, police said.
Logs provided to police by Uber show Mekonene canceled the 6-mile ride from the Las Vegas Strip to an apartment complex while in progress – and then restarted it 22 minutes later while dropping the woman off, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Mekonene tried to “deflect” when detectives later grilled him about the time gap and his leg “started to shake very fast,” according to an arrest report.
Mekonene then asked for a lawyer before refusing to answer additional questions. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf and court logs do not indicate he’s hired one, the Review-Journal reported.
The victim, an out-of-state visitor, told cops she dozed off minutes into the ride and awoke to find Mekonene sexually assaulting her. He ignored the woman’s pleas to stop and strangled her until she was unconscious, the arrest report shows.
Mekonene then took the woman to her destination and pulled her out of the car before tossing her clothes and belongings at her, she told police.
Prosecutors are declining to pursue the kidnapping charge, court logs cited by the Review-Journal show. Mekonene, whose bail was set at $200,000, is due back in court on Dec. 30. He remained in custody early Friday, online records show.
Mekonene told cops he had driven for Uber and Lyft for six months. He has been removed from the former ride-sharing platform, the company told the Review-Journal.
“The details described by the ride are horrific, and we immediately deactivated the driver,” an Uber spokesperson told the newspaper. “We are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”
“Mr. Mekonene no longer has access to the Lyft platform — we permanently removed him when we learned of this incident,” a Lyft spokesperson told The Post.