Who is Kamal Essalak? Massachusetts Uber driver allegedly traps woman inside car, gets arrested for kidnapping
ACTON, MASSACHUSETTS: A Uber driver has been arrested on Saturday, March 20, after a woman accused him of trapping her inside a car. Kamal Essalak from Acton was taken into custody on a kidnapping charge related to the incident that happened Thursday, March 18, around 8.30 pm, in the area of 1139 Commonwealth Avenue.
As per a statement from the Boston police department, “When the victim got into the vehicle, she noted that the suspect/operator was behaving strangely and requested to be dropped off and let out of the vehicle. When the suspect stopped the car, the female attempted to open the door but found that the child safety locks had been enabled on both rear doors, making her egress impossible and trapping her inside the vehicle. As the victim began to scream and bang on the glass in an attempt to draw attention to the unfolding situation, the suspect began to climb into the rear passenger area of the vehicle, laughing periodically. The victim was able to quickly slide around the suspect, into the driver’s seat at which time she was able to unlock the door and exit the vehicle, making her way to safety.”
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The arraignment of the 47-year-old accused is soon expected to happen in Brighton District Court. Following the incident, it was reported that Uber removed Essalak from its service. A spokesperson for the company stated, “What's been reported is horrifying and something no one should have to go through. We appreciate Acton Police Department's quick actions that helped lead to an arrest in this case.” The police department also advised the customers of ridesharing services “to take an extra moment upon entering the vehicle they have requested to see if the child safety door locks have been enabled. On most modern cars and SUVs, these safety locks are located on the inside panel of the rear doors, below wherever the door latch mechanism is located. They are usually quite small and made of dark colored or black plastic making them difficult to see under darkened conditions.”
Meanwhile, college students on Commonwealth Ave in Boston reacted to the incident. A student said, “Immediately I thought if that happened to me, I don’t know what I would do.” College student Julia Merritt mentioned, “I’ve heard lots of podcasts where that’s happened to females in Ubers and it’s pretty scary because there’s really no other way to get out.” “We’ve had our fair share of ride shares where it’s been uncomfortable feeling like maybe something weird is going on but everything has worked out in the end, just being hyper aware when in the Uber,” Erin Haden of the Boston area added.
In 2020, Uber released "the Uber Survivor Resources Hotline and Fund in partnership with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. This dedicated hotline will offer immediate, confidential and trauma-informed support for survivors reporting critical sexual assault incidents related to the Uber app. The hotline is staffed by RAINN support specialists who are experienced in working with survivors of sexual violence. These specialists can provide callers with emotional support and help them understand their short- and long-term options, including information about therapy, local service providers, and the process of reporting to law enforcement, should they choose to do so.”