Lyft driver sexually assaulted passenger in 2 Chicago suburbs, police say

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 7: The Lyft logo is displayed on a car on March 7, 2019 in San Francisco, California. On-demand transportation company Lyft has filed paperwork for its initial public offering that is expected to value the company at up to $25 billion. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO — A Lyft driver is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger at two separate suburban stops on the same trip last week.

Alexander Sowa, 34, is charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual assault.

Police allege Sowa picked up a woman who requested a ride using the Lyft ride-sharing app about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. She wanted to go from suburban Elk Grove to Des Plaines.

Sowa drove the passenger, who had been drinking, to a parking lot near Busse Road and Oakton Avenue in Elk Grove, where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

Sowa then drove around before taking the woman to a parking garage in the first block of South Emerson Street in Mount Prospect, where he sexually assaulted her again, according to authorities. Police said the woman was able to escape and find someone to call 911.

Lyft released the following statement: "Safety is our top priority. The behavior described is deeply disturbing and absolutely unacceptable. Immediately upon becoming aware of the allegations we permanently banned the driver from the Lyft community and reached out to the passenger to express our support. We have been in touch with law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation."

Detectives from Mount Prospect and Elk Grove investigated the case.

Sowa, of the 1000 block of Shady Tree Lane in Wheeling, was arrested Thursday. Bond was set at $10,000 at a weekend hearing. He will next appear in court Tuesday.

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