Crime

Lyft driver arrested after woman woke up with him on top of her, cops say

Ralph Lopez
Ralph Lopez Broward Sheriff's Office

After a night out in Miami with friends, a woman got in a Lyft to head to her Coral Springs home.

The woman, 22, doesn’t remember much about the ride, she told police, but she said when she woke up her driver was on top of her.

Her driver, identified by police as Ralph Lopez, 45, was arrested Wednesday by Coral Springs police and charged with attempted sexual battery. He remained in jail Friday on a $50,000 bond.

According to a warrant, the woman went to Miami with her roommate for a double-date on July 19. She said she spent the night eating dinner and going to bars and had ”6-7 tequila and soda drinks,” an officer wrote. At around 4:30 a.m. July 20, the woman’s date ordered a Lyft for her.

“She remembers walking with her date to the vehicle exhausted and getting in,” the officer wrote in the arrest warrant. “[The woman] cannot recall the ride home and only remembers waking up with the defendant, Ralph Agustin Lopez, on top of her. [The woman] described feeling confused and first thinking it was her date and then slowly realizing that it was the driver of the Lyft ride.”

The woman reported the incident July 22, and police identified Lopez after serving a subpoena for information to Lyft.

Investigators also had surveillance video from the woman’s apartment complex to help them build the case. Police say Lopez parked right in front of a camera.

At 5:36 a.m. Lopez got out of the front seat of the car and went to the back seat, according to the warrant. Lopez can be seen leaning toward the victim and the victim pushing him away, police say. At that point the car’s light is on. Then the light turns off for five seconds. Shortly after, the victim opened the door and the light went back on, police said.

“The suspect’s left hand appears to be in the area of her vagina,” the officer said in the warrant, adding that the incident lasted 19 seconds. Police say once the woman exited, Lopez remained in the back seat and masturbated. He then went back to the driver’s seat and left.

In an email Friday, Lyft said the company takes “allegations like this incredibly seriously.”

“The behavior described is unacceptable, which is why we permanently banned this individual from the Lyft community,” the company said. “We have also been in touch with the rider, and worked with law enforcement.”

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