The surveillance video at a Maryland motel parking lot shows a man lifting a woman from the back of his Uber, hoisting her limp body so her feet don’t touch the ground and carrying her through the dark into a room.
In a 911 call later, the confused and weeping woman asks for police to come to the motel, telling the emergency call-taker: “I don’t know how I woke up here. I don’t know.”
The video and call were among the evidence presented to a Prince George’s County jury that took less than two hours to convict the Uber driver of raping the female passenger, who was intoxicated and passed out in the back of his car.
Following a three-day trial this week, a jury found Westagne Pierre, 30, of Greenbelt, Md., guilty of second-degree rape in the Oct. 18, 2016, attack.
During a news conference Friday outside the Prince George’s County Courthouse, State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks praised the woman as “courageous” for coming forward and cooperating fully with authorities. “This is pain that can last a lifetime,” she said.
While on the trip, Pierre stopped for two other female passengers, prosecutors say. The women were part of Uber’s pool passenger service, in which drivers pick up multiple clients and charge rates lower than those for a single-passenger trip. Prosecutors said when Pierre stopped to pick up the pair of women, they saw the unconscious woman in the back seat of his car and declined the ride.
During the trial, prosecutors called the two women to testify to having seen Pierre with the unconscious woman in the car.
Pierre was supposed to have taken the woman to her home in Fairfax.
Instead, Pierre stopped a few blocks away from her home and terminated the trip electronically on the ride share app. Pierre then drove the woman to a Budget Inn in College Park, Md., where he rented a room.
A hotel security camera captured what police described as Pierre pulling his victim’s motionless body from the car and carrying her to a hotel room, where authorities said he sexually assaulted her.
Prosecutors said that 10 minutes after entering the hotel room, Pierre left and went to a nearby 7-Eleven, where he used the victim’s credit card to buy several snacks. Pierre then returned to the hotel and stayed in the room for another 10 minutes before leaving.
The victim woke up the next morning unclear where she was with her dress hitched up. She called 911 for help, and in the call can be heard sniffling and crying as she tries to answers the call-taker’s questions about where she is, how she got there and who she thought she had been with.
Alsobrooks said Uber was fully cooperative with the investigation and provided driving logs of Pierre’s route and cellphone data.
Uber also removed Pierre from its app a day after the incident when the victim notified the company. The victim’s friend who placed the woman in the back seat of the car also provided a snapshot of the Uber log that was sent to his phone after the trip was completed.
Alsobrooks said Pierre had no prior arrests. “He’s a dangerous sexual predator and a danger to the community.”
Alsobrooks also cautioned individuals about placing their friends who may be incapacitated in an Uber by themselves. “Be vigilant,” she said.
Prosecutors said Pierre was not charged with first-degree rape because no weapon was used.
Pierre, who was taken into custody after the verdict was read, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25 and faces 20 years in prison.