East BayNews

Lyft driver arrested, suspected of sexual battery


A Lyft driver was arrested last Thursday in Emeryville for an alleged sexual battery of a passenger, police said Tuesday. Officers were dispatched at 4:36 p.m. Thursday to a hotel in the 5800 block of Shellmound Street where they arrested 22-year-old El Cerrito resident Bipin Thapa.

Before the arrest, officers met with the victim who alleged she called for a ride to the hotel and during the ride she was sexually battered.

Police said officers located Thapa, who had come back to the hotel, and made an arrest.

Officials with Lyft said in a statement Tuesday:

“The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority and the allegations described are deeply disturbing. As soon as we were made aware of these allegations, we deactivated the driver. … We have extended our support to the passenger involved and are actively assisting law enforcement in their investigation.”

Lyft officials said people who drive for the company in California are given a background check, which is run each year. Anyone who fails the check is not allowed to drive for Lyft.

Thapa had passed a background check as late as Dec. 22, 2018, according to Lyft.

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