Dawed Mekonene: Las Vegas Uber driver detained for sexually assaulting passenger
The victim fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle during the travel and woke up when Mekonene began sexually assaulting her
An Uber driver in Las Vegas was detained after sexually assaulting a sleeping passenger during an early-morning journey. Police accused Dawed Mekonene, 30, of sexually motivated kidnapping, battery by strangulation with intent to commit sexual assault, and two counts of sexual assault on December 20. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the female victim booked a ride on December 16 and Mekonene came in his green Toyota Camry. The victim fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle during the travel and woke up when Mekonene began sexually assaulting her. "The victim was driven to the initial intended destination after the attack," police added.
The crime was reported to police on December 18 by the victim. According to Uber log records that are provided to the police department, show that Mekonene reportedly halted the journey of the 6-mile ride from the Las Vegas Strip to an apartment complex in the middle but restarted it after 22 minutes, at which time he dropped the victim off at her desired location. According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, the woman slept off about five minutes after the ride started and awoke during the back-seat attack. Mekonene reportedly strangled the victim till she passed out. When they arrived at the woman's stop, he "pulled her out of the car and hurled her clothing and other stuff at her." The incident was captured on a security video.
Mekonene told the police that he had driven for Uber and Lyft for the last six months. Both of these platforms removed him from their ride-sharing platform after this incident. “The details described by the ride are horrific, and we immediately deactivated the driver,” an Uber spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “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 clarified as well.
LVMPD Sexual Offender Apprehension Program Detectives have arrested Dawed Mekonene in connection to a sexual assault that occurred on December 18, 2021.— LVMPD (@LVMPD) December 21, 2021
Anyone who may have been a victim of Mekonene or has info about this crime is urged to call 702-828-3421.@CrimeStoppersNV pic.twitter.com/AsNv3Nc7gS
The kidnapping accusation against the suspect was eventually dismissed by the local district attorney's office, but the other three counts remained. On Thursday, he was ordered jailed on $200,000 cash bail, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in court again on December 30. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department from their official Twitter account posted a notice to the general public on December 21 by asking, anyone with information on Mekonene or who believes they were his victim to call 702-828-3421.