An Uber driver who allegedly picked up a woman who was waiting for a different ride-hailing vehicle and then groped her when she got in his car pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge.
Luis Gerardo Pena, 40, of Azusa, is due back in court Sept. 26 for a pretrial hearing.
Pena was arrested Friday. Police said the alleged victim called for an Uber driver to pick her up in the 800 block of North Azusa Avenue that morning.
“When the alleged Uber driver arrived, the female victim noted that the vehicle was different than that of the one the service had assigned to her,” police said. “The victim assumed a simple mistake had been made and elected to enter the vehicle.”
The driver then began asking inappropriate questions before “inappropriately touching the victim,” police said.
“The victim was able to fight off the driver and exited the vehicle,” according to Azusa police. “The vehicle made a U-turn and sped away.”
Detectives identified Pena as the suspect and he was arrested a short time later.
“It was confirmed that he is a driver for Uber, but was not the driver assigned to the original pick up,” police said, adding that anyone who suspects a driver or vehicle is not the one assigned to them should not get into the vehicle until before contacting the company for confirmation.
Pena faces up to six months in jail if convicted, prosecutors said.