DUBAI – A Houston woman known online as the “Sassy Trucker” has left the United Arab Emirates after being stranded in Dubai for months over an altercation at a car rental agency.
Tierra Young Allen, 29, left Tuesday and will transit through the United Kingdom on her way back to the U.S., said Radha Stirling, who runs a for-hire advocacy group long critical of the UAE called Detained in Dubai.
Allen paid a $1,360 deposit to Dubai police to clear the travel ban she faced, Stirling said.
It wasn't clear if Allen still has any legal complaints against her in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. Officials in Dubai did not return a request for comment.
The U.S. State Department in a statement to The Associated Press acknowledged Allen departed Dubai, but declined to say whether she still faced legal proceedings in the UAE.
“We take seriously our commitment to assist U.S. citizens abroad,” the State Department said. “Over the past several months, the U.S. Embassy in Dubai provided consistent consular assistance on this case.”
The circumstances of the April altercation at the unidentified car rental agency also remain unclear. Allen earlier had been in a rental car involved in a crash.
Stirling had described Allen as facing possible charges for “shouting” at an employee of the rental car agency, without elaborating on what Allen said at the time. Stirling accused the car rental agency employee of “raising his voice" at Allen and following her out of the shop in a threatening manner during the incident.
Dubai police disputed Stirling’s description of the altercation, instead saying they received a complaint from the car rental agency about Allen "accusing her of slandering and defaming an employee amidst a dispute over car rental fees.”
The UAE has rules that strictly govern speech far beyond what’s common in Western nations. A middle finger raised in a traffic dispute, a text message calling someone a name or swearing in public easily can spark criminal cases — something that foreign tourists who flock here may not realize until it is too late.
Under Emirati law, publicly insulting another person can carry a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of $5,450. Disputes over rental car agency fees have seen other foreign tourists stuck in the city-state in the past as well.