Court: Taxicab Driver Charged with Rape, Kidnapping of Passenger

A taxi driver in Washington, D.C., was arrested after a passenger told police he raped her in his vehicle early Sunday morning.

A court document showed police arrested Yared Geremew Mekonnen, 24, and charged him with second-degree sexual abuse and kidnapping after they were called by a witness who saw a woman in a taxi, screaming for help in northwest Washington around 3:15 a.m. on May 28.

The document showed the woman was with her boyfriend on U Street when they decided to take a taxicab or Uber home after they had been drinking. She said she blacked out, and when she woke up, she was in the back seat of a taxicab, and Mekonnen, the taxicab driver, was having sex with her.

The woman told police she fought off the driver, and he returned to the front and started driving. She “begged him to let her out” and grabbed the steering wheel, screaming for help.

A man driving on 16th Street, Northwest, told police he heard a woman screaming and saw a woman in a taxicab waving for help. He said he pulled his vehicle in front of the taxi and called 911.

When officers arrived, the driver denied assault the passenger, saying she was crying and started scratching his face after requesting to go to Silver Spring, Maryland. The woman, who lives in Virginia, told police she did not know anyone in Silver Spring, and police said the driver lives in Silver Spring.

Mekonnen was arrested at the scene by police. He has a hearing scheduled for Thursday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.


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D.C.'s Department of For-Hire Vehicles said it filed an “Oder of Immediate Suspension and Notice of Proposed Revocation” with the Office of Administrative Hearing for Mekonnen and deactivated him, meaning he is unable to login in to the meter to operate his taxi.

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