Uber Driver Faces Life in Prison for Allegedly Kidnapping Passenger, Leaving Her On Side of Road

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The Uber logo is seen at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, California. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities have charged an Uber driver with kidnapping a passenger after she fell asleep, according to The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Harbir Parmar, 24, allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his female passenger.

The rider was picked up in Manhattan on February 21. She asked Parmar to drive her to White Plains, where she lived, according to authorities. During the ride, the passenger fell asleep. Parmar changed her destination to an address in Boston and began driving toward Massachusetts. When the rider awoke, the driver had parked the vehicle on the side of the road. Parmar was sitting in the backseat. His hand was under her shirt, touching the top of her breast.

The passenger asked to go to her original destination or a police station. The driver instead dropped the rider in Branford, Connecticut, on the side of the interstate.

"Parmar kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate. No one – man or woman – should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service," Southern District Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said, according to the press release.

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The Uber logo is seen at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, California. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

"Harbir Parmar made an outrageous choice, deciding to unlawfully take advantage of his passenger at a moment of vulnerability for his own selfish motives," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division William F. Sweeney Jr. "This kind of behavior should never be tolerated, and the FBI will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to bring justice to those who would shamelessly and illegally take advantage of others."

Parmar was also charged with wire fraud.

The charge stems from accusations he sent false information about the destinations of his rides at least 11 times between December 2016 and February 2018 and falsely charged his passengers for cleaning fees. "These instances have resulted in over $3,600 in improper charges," the press release said.

CBS New York reported that individuals charged with kidnapping can be sentenced to life imprisonment. Parmar also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for the wire fraud charge.

"What's been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual's access to the platform," an Uber spokesperson told Newsweek. "We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation."

The incident involving Parmar adds to the growing list of alleged criminal conduct by rideshare drivers.

In April, CNN reported that 103 Uber drivers in the United States have been accused of sexual assault or abuse. At least 31 drivers had been convicted of crimes including forcible touching and rape at the time of the article.

In addition, at least 18 Lyft drivers have also been accused of sexual or violent offenses, Newsweek reported in May.

Uber Driver Faces Life in Prison for Allegedly Kidnapping Passenger, Leaving Her On Side of Road | U.S.