MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Police are offering warnings of caution following two sexual assault arrests this week of drivers for ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft in Morgantown.
On September 18, police arrested Ibrahim Hamid, 29, of Morgantown on a second-degree assault charge stemming from an incident in April.
A female victim claimed she had been drugged while out drinking one night. According to the criminal complaint, Hamid had borrowed the vehicle where the alleged assault occurred to drive for Uber. A detective took a DNA sample from Hamid. It matched DNA taken from a sex crime kit from the victim.
“I think it’s always a concern when a crime is committed,” Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer said. “This is something we’re just seeing now, and we’re going to take all the steps we can to prosecute to the most we can.”
Hamid is charged with second-degree sexual assault. His bond was set at $10,000.
The second arrest came September 21 of a Lyft driver who is accused of having sex with a 24-year-old woman while she was physically helpless, according to the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department. Palmer said he was unsure of the precise timeline of events that led to either allegation, but said there are some precautions everyone should take.
“You need to be responsible when you are out drinking alcohol not to drink in excess,” he said. “I also think it’s really important to have a friend. Ride with somebody else when you are riding in one of these vehicles. Don’t ride in them alone.”
Ademola Ajibade, 37, is accused in the second assault, which police believe occurred September 18 during the ride.
“Background checks are a responsibility,” Palmer said. “But also the people that ride need to take extra precautions.”
Ride-sharing services became available in West Virginia last year following some debate in the state legislature. Palmer said anyone who gets into a vehicle with someone they don’t know needs to be alert.
“You need to be conscious of your surroundings at all times,” he said.
Ajibade was arraigned by Magistrate Sandy Holepit, and his bond was set at $75,000 cash or surety.