Chicago-Prosecutors: Lyft driver accused of zip-tying, sexually assaulting passenger

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas  Chicago Tribune 07/21/2017

A driver of a ride-sharing service appeared in court Friday on charges that he kidnapped a customer, physically restrained her with a zip tie, and sexually assaulted and robbed her, all at knifepoint, according to prosecutors.

Angelo McCoy, 48, is being held in lieu of $900,000 bail in the July 7 crime, in which a 25-year-old Chicago woman was restrained and attacked, authorities said.

McCoy was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, armed robbery and unlawful restraint, police and prosecutors said.

The woman used the Lyft app on her phone to order a ride home from a bar because she felt she had had too much to drink and was picked up near the intersection of Hubbard and Clark streets about 11 p.m., Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Howlett told the judge.

Investigators would later learn the driver entered a pickup time of 11:06 p.m. and the system showed a drop-off time of 11:11 p.m., when in actuality the woman would be held against her will until after 1 a.m., Howlett said. 

The woman’s friend walked out to the curb with her and watched as she got into a white 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUV that matched the description of the Lyft vehicle that appeared on the woman’s mobile app, according to Howlett.

The woman fell asleep in the back seat of the SUV, and when she awoke, she realized the vehicle wasn’t headed in the direction of her home. She asked to get out of the vehicle, but McCoy wouldn’t let her, court documents show.  

He pulled into an alley and stopped the vehicle. The woman saw three people in the distance and screamed for help, but no one responded. McCoy then entered the back seat of the SUV, grabbed the woman from behind by her throat and pushed her down on her seat, according to Howlett.

He tied the woman’s hands together behind her back with a zip tie, police said, and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

The driver is additionally accused of sexually assaulting the woman, stealing her cellphone and driver’s license and demanding she give him money despite her pleas that she didn’t have any, prosecutors said.

After about two hours as a captive, she saw a chance to jump out of the SUV, near Belmont and Ashland avenues. She got out at a red light and ran straight to a car behind them, and that driver came to her aid, according to Howlett.

The stranger not only allowed her into his car but also offered to drive her home and persuaded her to first report the attack and took her to the 19th District police station. The woman was taken to Thorek Memorial Hospital, where she was examined for her injuries.

McCoy's next court appearance was set for Aug. 9, according to records from the Cook County sheriff’s office. 

"These allegations are sickening and horrifying,'' Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell said in an emailed statement. "As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we deactivated the driver’s account and did everything we could to assist law enforcement,'' he said in the statement. "Our concern is with the victim and her well-being. We stand ready to assist law enforcement in their investigation.''

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-lyft-driver-arrested-after-zip-tying-sexually-assaulting-passenger-20170721-story.html