AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A safety awareness campaign is underway at the Auburn Police Department, following the arrest of a rideshare driver for First Degree Rape, Sodomy, and Sexual Abuse of the passenger he picked up in downtown Auburn. While the case remains under investigation, the department is sharing a public safety video with ridesharing tips, and urging everyone to vigilant.
The biggest fear a rideshare passenger can imagine is going from a customer to a victim at the hands of their driver. Auburn police say April 10th in downtown Auburn 46-year-old Theodore Leroy Halls Junior, of Opelika, picked up a female customer, who had booked him as her driver. Halls is charged with Rape, Sodomy, and Sexual Abuse of the customer. The incident happened during the ride near Aspen Heights Lane.
While police say rideshare services may be a convenient, even responsible choice, they aren’t without risk. The Auburn Police Department is urging all rideshare users to remember the following safety tips:
-Share trip details with others like your estimated arrival time and destination.
-If you don’t need to travel alone, consider taking the carpool option and riding with others to the same destination.
-Keep personal information confidential. Don’t share your phone number, social media handles, or mobile payment information with your driver.
-Request your ride while you wait indoors. Drivers should never solicit rides or accept street hails.
Check the driver’s ratings and read feedback before you confirm a pick-up. Verify the identity of the driver and car before entering the vehicle. The rideshare app will show you the driver’s photo, the vehicle’s license plate number, and the make and model of the car. Cancel the request if you are not comfortable with the driver.
-Always know your surroundings. Use the app to follow your driver’s progress before they pick you up and while you are en route to your destination.
-Sit in the back seat and wear your seatbelt.
-If you go out in a group, do your best to return as a group.
-Trust your instincts and use your best judgment if you ever feel unsafe. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t get into the vehicle. If your safety is threatened, contact the Auburn Police Department by dialing or texting 911 immediately.
Meanwhile, Halls remains behind bars at the Lee County Detention Facility on a $150,000 bond. The case remains under investigation.