HOUSTON - “We were celebrating my 27th birthday … . I bought a brand-new dress … . we were ready to go out and celebrate all night.”
Those are the words of Paula, the victim whose real name is being concealed, a young wife and mother from Jersey Village who hoped to make this past Saturday night, an evening she would never forget.
She will never forget that night, but for all the wrong reasons.
Early Sunday morning, after bar-hopping all night, Paula called her husband saying she needed a ride home.
Her husband requested an Uber car pick her up.
But instead of getting a ride home, Paula said she fell asleep inside the Uber car right after getting inside, and when she woke up she alleges the driver was on top of her raping her with his hand.
“When I woke up, his hand was inside of my body and his mouth was on my neck kissing me. Like my neck was really wet all over and all around,” Paula said, with her hands trembling.
Immediately Paula said she jumped out of the vehicle and called 911.
The Uber driver stayed at the scene, and both he and Paula told their story to Houston police.
“I told them exactly what happened,” Paula said. "And I thought they would arrest this man."
But the Uber driver told a completely different story.
According to police, the driver told investigators that when he arrived to give Paula a ride, she was heavily intoxicated, upset and crying.
In order to help her, the driver told police he put her in the passenger seat next to him and proceeded to adjust her seat position and attach her seat belt for her.
He says when Paula woke up, he was leaning over her fastening the seat belt.
The Uber driver maintains he did nothing wrong.
As for Paula, she was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital to have a rape kit performed on her.
Paula says the driver is lying.
“I want him in jail. He shouldn’t be allowed to serve the public and drive people around,” Paula says.
Police say they are actively investigating the case.
At this point, the Uber driver has not been arrested or charged with anything.
Uber says the driver in question has been removed from the Uber platform and cannot drive for the company at this time.
Uber also says the driver did go through the Uber screening process, which does involve searching the national sex offender list.
Uber says this driver also passed the city of Houston’s background check which requires fingerprinting every driver.
Uber said: “We are deeply concerned by today’s report. We are in close contact with law enforcement and the driver in question has been removed from the Uber platform.”