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Sexual assault reported during Sioux Falls Lyft ride

Sexual assault reported on Sioux Falls Lyft ride
Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 8:57 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It may be easier for Zahra Wol to deal with her pain in private.

“It’s scary. It’s embarrassing. It’s uncomfortable. And you know that there are people that are not going to believe you,” said Wol.

She wants to share her story to warn others.

“The assault is over but I have to deal with the fact that it happened,” said Wol.

Friday night Zahra says she ordered a Lyft ride, after being out with friends. Having been a Lyft driver in the past, she thought nothing of the invitation to sit in the front seat, as many riders usually do.

“I Panicked. I didn’t know why this was happening,” said Wol. “I thought he was a nice guy.”

Wol says the conversation about his wife and kids quickly changed. The driver’s left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand on her.

“The fondling would have gone on maybe 10 to 15 minutes,” said Wol.

She decided not to fight back for fear of the assault escalating. The closer she was to home, she realized the ride needed to end elsewhere and yelled for him to stop the car.

“I wanted to be in a public place,” said Wol. “And he pulled over and then he was like, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just have a crush.”

She ran into a restaurant.

“Soon as I got to the bathroom stall, I went to the furthest one I called the police and I reported what happened,” said Wol.

She says the Sioux Falls police were amazing.

“So kind very compassionate,” said Wol.

Officer Sam Clemens commends Wol for having the presence of mind to have a picture of the car. He encourages others to do the same.

“A picture of the car or the license plate. If something were to happen that would certainly aid us and be able to identify the driver or at least the vehicle that’s associated with that,” said Clemens.

A spokesperson for the ride-sharing company is also taking action and released a statement:

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior described is appalling. When we learned of this incident, we removed the driver from the Lyft community and got in touch with the rider to offer our support. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation.” - Lyft Spokesperson

“I don’t want to come forward with something like this, but I do. No one deserves to go through that either,” said Wol.

Officer Sam Clemens says the investigation is continuing. No arrest has taken place or charges at this time. Wol was notified by Lyft officials that the driver has been removed from the platform.

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