TRACY -- It’s a job that’s supposed to be safe. That’s why one ride-share driver did not see her attacker coming.
The 40-year-old woman told FOX40 she was driving a Lyft passenger to his Motel 6 in Tracy Tuesday when she says the man opened her car door and forcibly pulled her out.
“I didn’t know if he was armed, dangerous or, you know, what was going to happen,” she said Thursday.
The man allegedly dragged her to his motel room and locked her inside.
The Lyft driver says the man then reached for his belt buckle.
“He took his hand and he jammed my face into his groin,” the woman said.
The assault happening within minutes -- but she said the seconds felt like hours.
She waited for the man to fall asleep before making her escape.
Shortly after the attack, the woman notified her friend and fellow Lyft driver about what had happened.
“It’s scary. It’s not right. Thank God she’s alive,” he said.
He recalled the moments he found her and called 911.
“She looked very disheveled. She looked very altered,” the friend said. “She was very lethargic. She was not alert to place. And I was quite concerned of her medical condition, as well as the fact that I believed that a sexual assault had occurred.”
Tracy police arrested the suspect, now identified as 35-year-old Emmanuel Moreles, at the motel. He’s now facing felony charges of kidnapping and oral copulation in the San Joaquin County Jail.
For his alleged victim, the nightmare is far from over.
“I’ve got the shakes, I’ve got the tremors. I don’t know who’s getting in the car,” she said.
She said the attack left her traumatized and she wishes her employer did more to keep her safe.
“I want the company to learn it’s not just the riders they need to protect, it’s also their drivers,” the driver said. “I’m glad I’m still alive but, you know, I could be six feet under right now.”
FOX40 reached out to Lyft about the incident and the company issued the following statement:
Safety is fundamental to Lyft. What the driver described is disturbing, and the rider’s access to Lyft has been permanently removed. We responded immediately and have continued outreach to the driver since the incident. We stand ready to assist authorities and will continue to help in every way we can.
But what the Lyft drivers said they really want is more protection and better screening so that dangerous passengers cannot harm another person behind the wheel.
“What we need is safety. There’s nothing vetting any of these people that are getting in the back of these vehicles,” the victim’s friend told FOX40. “It just frightens me."