Bay AreaCrimeLawNews

Lyft driver pleads no contest to sexual battery charges


A Lyft driver has pleaded no contest to felony sexual battery against a woman he was taking from San Francisco to Palo Alto in November, San Mateo County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Eddy Palacios, a 33-year-old South San Francisco resident, entered the plea Monday to a case that was reported early on the morning of Nov. 25, according to the district attorney’s office.

Palacios picked up a 29-year-old woman and her 31-year-old female friend who had used the ride-hailing service after a night out in San Francisco and they fell asleep as the vehicle drove south on U.S. Highway 101, prosecutors said.

At about 3 a.m., the 29-year-old woke up to find Palacios had reached into the backseat while driving along the highway in Redwood City and digitally penetrated her. She screamed, awakening her friend, and they both turned on their cellphone recorder and yelled at him, prosecutors said. Palacios apologized and when the two women got out of the vehicle they called 911. California Highway Patrol officers responded and worked with Lyft to identify the vehicle and driver, according to the attorney’s office. Palacios faces up to a year in county jail after reaching a plea deal Tuesday with the court. Prosecutors had sought a maximum of two years in state prison in the case, which will return to court on April 12 for sentencing.

Palacios’ attorney was not immediately available for comment.

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