Security expert shares rideshare safety tips after DC woman's 'terrifyingly close call'
WASHINGTON - A D.C. woman is warning rideshare passengers to be careful after what she described as a "terrifyingly close call" Sunday night.
"I called the Uber, and it was four minutes away." Lisa P. Cohen recalled, explaining that she’d just attended a play at Arena Stage in Southwest before things took a turn for the worst.
According to the police report, the Uber driver’s "strange comments and attempts at going the wrong way caused [Cohen] to feel unsafe."
"The driver started complimenting me and describing what I had on," she told FOX 5 Wednesday.
Cohen also said that at one point during the ride, just as they were passing the Kennedy Center, a van pulled up alongside the Uber.
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"They’re communicating," she said of the drivers. "Then he rolls the window down, and he says, ‘I know, I got this. I got this.’"
Cohen had had enough. The police report states she "attempted to exit the vehicle, but the child locks prevented her from leaving from both sides of the back seat."
"I jumped over the front seat," she explained, adding that she was able to escape through the passenger side front door. "You can’t ask a person who’s trying to abduct you to help you. You gotta help yourself."
Police did not use the word "abduct" in their incident report. Instead, the report classifies the offense as "threats to do bodily harm."
Uber sent FOX 5 a statement, saying, "The details of this rider’s experience are deeply unsettling, and we have been in touch with her. We removed the driver’s access to the Uber platform while we investigate, and we stand ready to support law enforcement with their investigation."
Security expert Derrick Parks, the president and CEO of Metropolitan Protective Services, explained what others can do if they find themselves in a similar situation.
He suggests having an escape plan, and letting a relative know you’re taking an Uber. He also recommends riders should try to sit behind the driver instead of on the other side of the car, and he said to carry something that can break a window if necessary.
Uber’s app does have an emergency button that can be used to call 911.
Parks also advised riders to make sure an Uber’s doors and windows are unlocked before they even get into the car.
"Prior to you getting into the car, you check for those small things," Parks said. "You know, ‘do you mind if you roll down the window.’ Check both sides of the door to make sure it’s working properly."
D.C. Police said the incident involving Cohen is an ongoing investigation, and so far, no arrests have been made.