A Greensboro Uber driver was jailed Friday after police in Kernersville accused him of picking up a Kernersville woman who wanted a ride, but kidnapping her and committing a forcible sex offense against her instead.
Kernersville police detective David de Mattos said the crime occurred about 2:15 a.m. on June 27 after the woman, who lives in Kernersville, engaged the ride-sharing service to go from one point to another.
The Uber driver was identified as Tarik Aitouali, 39, of Beckford Drive in Greensboro.
De Mattos said that Aitouali did not take the woman to her agreed-on destination, but took her to a different location without her consent and committed the sexual offense against her while she was physically helpless at the time.
Aitouali was charged with second-degree kidnapping and second-degree forcible sex offense. He was placed in the Forsyth County Detention Center with bond set at $150,000.
The Uber company said through a spokesperson that it immediately removed Aitouali’s access to the Uber app as soon as the incident was reported to the company in June, and that it was working with police on the investigation.
“What’s been reported is deeply upsetting, and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time,” the company said.
Uber said Aitouali’s access to the Uber app was revoked permanently, and that the company has been in touch with the victim to offer support.
According to his arrest sheet, Aitouali has worked for Uber and Domino’s pizza delivery “on and off.” He has been living in North Carolina for five to six years and has a wife and two children.
A Forsyth County magistrate said Aitouali has no prior criminal record but he does have two traffic offenses on his record. Records showed he was charged with speeding and failing to stop for a stop light on separate occasions in 2017. Both charges were dismissed when they came to court.
Uber said that all drivers have to undergo a screening process before they are given access to the app and allowed to become Uber drivers. The screening includes a driving and criminal history background by using state, local and national records.
Uber also said that it follows North Carolina rideshare regulations for screening. Those regulations prohibit companies from using drivers who have more than three traffic violations in the prior three years, or one major violation in the prior three years. Major violations include reckless driving or evading police.
Drivers also have to be clear of any offenses relating to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Aitouoali is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Oct. 24.
Uber said safety features built into its app include direct access to 911 along with a real-time location on a map and an address. The company uses global positioning system technology to record every trip, and the ability of drivers and riders to report safety issues at all times.
The company said that while the state requires new background checks every five years, Uber runs them annually.
Uber said that riders can also designate people to be trusted contacts who will share the rider’s trip status in real time.