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O.C. Uber driver charged with kidnapping, assaulting passenger, strangling 2nd woman in separate attack

“A Garden Grove man who works as an Uber driver has been charged with kidnapping and assaulting a female passenger this week in Santa Ana, and strangling another woman last month in a separate attack.

Jason Humberto Rodas, 30, is facing one felony count of kidnapping to commit rape, one felony count of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, one felony count of attempted forcible rape, two felony counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, and one felony count of criminal threats against two victims, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

He is also facing felony charges for assaulting and threatening a second woman.

About 4 a.m. Wednesday, a 51-year-old woman called an Uber to take her to work and Rodas arrived. But instead of taking her to her job, the Santa Ana Police Department reported Rodas drove the woman around erratically, asked her sexual questions and then stopped in the 300 block of South Minnie Street.

“The woman ran from the vehicle, but Rodas is accused of grabbing her, strangling her and attempting to sexually assault her. She managed to escape and run to her workplace,” the DA’s Office said in a news release.

But prosecutors said that was not the first time Rodas had attacked.

Another woman said Rodas threatened and strangled her in August. The same woman said he threatened to kill her on Sept. 4 which prompted her to call police, prosecutors said.

It is unclear if the second woman was a passenger or Uber customer.

Rodas was arrested hours after the alleged attack on the female passenger Wednesday based on evidence at the scene, police said. A search warrant was also served at his home.

“Rideshare services offer a valuable service that provides impaired drivers an alternative to getting behind the wheel and an option for transportation for people who otherwise do not have transportation,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement. “Anyone who uses rideshare services should not have to live in fear that they will be sexually assaulted or otherwise victimized. Violence under any circumstance is not acceptable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

If convicted on all charges, Rodas faces a maximum sentence of life plus seven years in state prison.

He is currently being held at the Orange County jail on $1 million bail.

His arraignment was continued until Oct. 2.[…].”

KTLA 5 | Nisha Gutierrez Jaime | September 11, 2020

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