KEY POINTS

  • The unidentified woman pleaded to be let out of the cab, noticing driver's strange  behavior
  • The Uber driver laughed while moving toward the passenger seat
  • The woman managed to reach the driver's seat door and escape

An Uber driver who trapped a woman in his car in Boston last week has been charged with kidnapping.

Police arrested 47-year-old Kamal Essalak of Acton, Mass., on March 20 for allegedly trapping a woman in his vehicle Thursday. According to the woman, Essalak refused to let her out of the car even after pleading with the driver and screaming many times.

A statement from the Boston Police Department stated that the woman entered the Uber driver's vehicle at around 8:30 p.m. after hailing a ride using the Uber app. 

When she got in the vehicle, she immediately noticed that the driver was displaying strange behavior. The woman requested the driver to drop her off and he stopped the car. However, she noticed that the rear doors were on child lock. 

The woman, whose identity hasn't been revealed, told the police that she then started screaming and banging on the windows to get the attention of people nearby. While she was trying to seek help from people outside, Essalak allegedly climbed into the passenger seat area while laughing.

The woman was able to maneuver around the driver to the driver's seat door, police said. She then unlocked the door, escaped the vehicle, and ran to safety.

Essalak will be arraigned in Brighton District Court.

Uber already released a statement on the incident, saying it had been aware of the unfortunate events and that Essalak's access had already been revoked.

An Uber spokesperson described the reported incident as horrific to NBC Boston. It was something "no one should have to go through." The company has been in contact with the woman, the spokesperson further said.

Meanwhile, the Boston Police Department has reminded ride-hailing app users to always check if the vehicle they are getting into has child safety door locks installed.

In December last year, Uber launched a hotline that victims can call if they experience sexual assault via their ride-hailing service.

Uber delivered a hefty loss in the fourth quarter of 2020 as the pandemic hit its ridesharing operations, even as it saw spectacular growth in food delivery Uber delivered a hefty loss in the fourth quarter of 2020 as the pandemic hit its ridesharing operations, even as it saw spectacular growth in food delivery Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck