Santa Ana Uber Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Sexually Assaulting Unconscious Passenger

A 37-year-old Uber driver working in Santa Ana was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting one of his unconscious passengers in his van, police said. 

Authorities believe there may be other victims.

Angel Sanchez, who had been an Uber driver for a little over a year, was arrested Saturday at his home in Costa Mesa, the Santa Ana Police Department said.

On Thursday evening, friends of the victim requested an Uber ride from a company gathering at a Newport Beach pizza restaurant to her home in Santa Ana. Her friends told police she was intoxicated, so they summoned the Uber and sent her by herself. 

She was picked up by Sanchez in a 2016 gray Toyota Sienna and told police she woke up to being sexually assaulted inside the van in the area near Euclid Avenue and E. 22nd Street.

She told police after the assault, she ran from the suspect's van and immediately called the police.

Police believe there may be more victims out there because of the way the assault was committed -- when the victim was vulnerable and unconscious.

"She had fallen asleep and woke up being sexually assaulted," said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. 

Uber and Santa Ana police worked together to track down the driver.

The map route, app documentation and the suspect's incriminating interview statements corroborated the victim's story and gave them enough evidence to arrest him.

He was being held on $100,000 bail. 

Santa Ana police detectives asked anyone who may have witnessed Sanchez commit other sexual assaults to call 714-245-8412.

Uber released the following statement after the arrest and noted the driver was removed from the app as soon as the information about the arrest came to light:

"What the rider has reported to police is deeply troubling and will not be tolerated. The driver has been banned from the app. We will continue to support police with their investigation."

Uber also said the driver had no negative feedback related to incidents like this in the past.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us