Professor working as Uber driver charged with kidnapping in Pittsburgh
FILE – In this July 15, 2015 file photo, an Uber driver sits in his car near the San Francisco International Airport.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
(Pittsburgh) — A western Pennsylvania professor working as a ride-hail company driver has been charged with holding two women in his vehicle against their will over the weekend, authorities said.
Richard Lomotey, 36, of Monaca, who was working as an Uber driver, is charged in Allegheny County with kidnapping, false imprisonment and harassment.
Pittsburgh police said Lomotey picked the women up in the city’s Homewood section at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday and was supposed to drive them to nearby Penn Hills. One woman said that during the ride, he commented on their looks and said he was single and wanted to “get with them,” authorities alleged in a criminal complaint.
Police allege that he finally pulled over and tried to lock the doors, but one woman was able to jump out of the back seat and the other slid out afterward. The first woman ran down the street screaming and trying to find a bystander to call 911, authorities said in the complaint.
The victims provided officers with a screenshot of the driver from the Uber app along with his license plate. Police found the vehicle in the surrounding area and later took Lomotey into custody, authorities said.
Uber called the alleged actions “unacceptable” and said the driver’s access to the app has been remove and it would cooperate with investigating authorities.
Penn State-Beaver confirmed that Lomotey is an assistant professor of information sciences and technology, but spokeswoman Kristen Doerschner said he has been placed on leave following the “deeply troubling” allegations. Officials declined further comment, citing the criminal charges.
Lomotey was also listed as a part-time University of Pittsburgh instructor. University spokesman Joe Miksch said that while he taught classes during the spring semester, he “is no longer under contract.”
Court documents don’t list a defense attorney, and a listed number for Lomotey couldn’t be found Monday.