Rideshare driver accused of demanding kiss instead of fare
DAVIS (KTXL) -- It's the kind of story any number of UC Davis students could tell about wrapping up a night of partying early Sunday morning.
"I was at a get-together with my friends. I was heading home late, took an Uber home and I was by myself," said Daniella Tutino.
But while the ride for the third year poli-sci/communications major ended without a hitch, UCD administrators say a fellow student who also calls the West Village home was not so lucky.
"A car picked them up, dropped off the first two young women, took the third one back to her residence and then the driver insisted on getting a kiss as his fare," said UCD spokesman Andy Fell.
The supposed Uber driver got spooked and unlocked his car doors when a campus police SafeRides van passed by.
The girl was able to escape and run to her apartment unharmed.
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"Freaked out," said Tutino as she thought about her fellow student and rideshare user's fate. "I took it really late, like, 12:30, and it happened to someone else, scary. Don't think I'll be taking it alone anytime soon."
Tutino's friend Jennifer has only used rideshare since living on campus.
She always vets her rides.
"Yeah I kind of check the color of the car, what make it is. So I check that, the person driving it, who it is," said third-year UCD student Jennifer Yeh.
So did the girls on the ride that ended with the kiss demand check any of those details against the car and driver information ride-share apps send?
"I don't know if the driver was the driver they were supposed to have. We would recommend that you always do that when you order one of these vehicles," said Fell.
Any other details about the driver in the ride order the girls placed have not been released.
The pick-up address for the suspicious ride was 400 Parkway Circle, the Sigma Chi house.
Members there say the lot in front of their building is the address rideshare apps often capture for anyone ordering a ride throughout fraternity row.
For third year student Erin Mario, this is just another example of why she's been wary of such rides in the first place.
"We actually text messaged our roommates, and we sent it in the group text, and said this is why you don't go alone," she said.
According to the campus warning sent out about this situation, the driver who asked for the kiss was a male of unknown race, between 25-35 years old with curly black hair.
He was wearing glasses, spoke with an accent and was behind the wheel of a black or dark four-door vehicle.
Anyone with information about this or similar incidents is asked to call UCDPD at (530) 754-2677 or Davis police at (530) 747-5400.