Driver for Ride-Hailing Services Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults: Police - NBC 7 San Diego

Driver for Ride-Hailing Services Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults: Police

An 18-year-old student at Palomar College San Marcos campus requested a ride to an Escondido home through Uber at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, September 16.

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    Ride-Hailing Services Driver Accused of Sexual Assaults

    Police say that the suspect preyed on young women, and that two of the victims were students at Palomar College. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian has more. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016)

    A San Marcos man was arrested Friday, accused of sexually assaulting a number of women while he worked for a ride-hailing service.

    Escondido Police have released the information regarding the arrest of Jeremy Vague, 37, of San Marcos because they believe there may be additional victims.

    An 18-year-old student at Palomar College San Marcos campus requested a ride to an Escondido home through Uber at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, September 16.

    The driver, identified as Vague, arrived in a blue, 2014 Chrysler minivan 7SMH182, according to Escondido Police spokesperson Justin Murphy.

    Instead of taking the victim home, Vague intentionally turned off the Uber app and veered away from the route to an area where he sexually assaulted the victim, Murphy said.

    After the assault, the suspect drove the rider home and dropped her off.

    Vague was arrested on Friday and is being held without bail.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 6 the same suspect allegedly attempted to lure another Palomar College student into his van during school hours. The woman did not feel comfortable and did not request a ride-hailing service.

    During the evening on Wednesday, Sept. 7, the same suspect gave a woman a ride through the Lyft service. Vague is accused of sexually battering the 19-year-old rider and another 19-year-old female who was waiting for her.

    “When he got out of the vehicle, he asked the victims if they wanted to take pictures with him. And while he’s posing and taking pictures with the victims, he’s touching them in inappropriate locations on their bodies,” Murphy said.

    Murphy said investigators were not aware of the initial report until after the Sept. 16 investigation began.

    Officials say it's believed he worked for Uber for approximately three months and with Lyft for nine months.

    Alexandra LaManna, a spokesperson for Lyft, told NBC 7 the company has permanently deactivated the driver's access to the platform.

    "We have a strict zero-tolerance policy for any type of violent behavior, abuse or harassment," LaManna said in a written statement.

    "Drivers on the Lyft platform undergo a thorough criminal background check across local, state and federal databases, that go back in time to the maximum extent allowable by California law," LaManna said.

    Uber is working with law enforcement officials in their investigation. 

    "The driver has been banned from accessing the Uber app," the company said through a written statement.

    Vague also passed Uber's background check process, the company said.

    Vague had a prior criminal record in Utah but not in California, Murphy said. He would not go into details regarding the crime but said it was not a sex crime.

    NBC 7 has obtained a criminal record for a Jeremy George Vague listing a 2002 guilty plea to a vehicle theft charge.

    Under California law, the maximum extent a background check can go back is seven years with a few exceptions.

    Police said Vague's employment at Lyft/uber has been suspended pending investigation.

    Vague is 7 feet tall, 270 pounds with tattoos on his arms and neck, Murphy said.

    Vague also worked as a girls volleyball coach at Calvin Christian High School. Murphy said he is no longer employed as a coach at the school.

    The Escondido Police Department is asking anyone who may recognize Vague or the circumstances to reach out to their investigators.

    Anyone with information regarding this investigation can call Detective Damian Jackson at (760) 839-4932.

    Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

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