North Texas Uber Driver Sentenced For Unlawful Restraint Of Passenger

Photo credit AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

HALTOM CITY (1080 KRLD) - He told the court it was "not uncommon" for him to jump into the backseat with his Uber passengers.

In Tarrant County, rideshare driver Gilbert Osoro was sentenced to 14 months' probation after his conviction on a charge of unlawful restraint of a passenger.

In May 2017, a man called an Uber at 2:30 a.m. to drive his 19-year-old girlfriend home. Prosecutors said Osoro picked up the woman, and became flirtatious while taking her to her home in Haltom City. The victim testified she became frightened and started a Snapchat conversation with her boyfriend to tell him what was happening.

As Osoro approached the woman's home, he pulled the car into the driveway of a vacant house next door. Authorities said Osoro turned off the car, climbed into the back seat and started to touch and kiss the woman.

The girl's boyfriend then traced the woman's location through the phone's GPS and contacted police. At the same time, an alert neighbor noticed the unfamiliar car and called 911. Haltom City police officers arrived a short time later, catching Osoro in the back seat and performing a lewd act. The victim was not sexually assaulted.

On Wednesday, a Tarrant County jury found Osoro guilty. District Attorney's Spokesperson Sam Jordan said, "It came down to unlawful restraint because he had her held in the car. So, it didn't turn out to be a sexual assault because, blessedly, it didn't get to that point. They went to the judge for punishment, rather than the jury. And the judge decided on 14 months' probation."

It is unknown if Osoro is still driving for Uber.

Prosecutors are urging rideshare passengers to be cautious, especially late at night. Jordan said, "Text someone. Your parent, your roommate, your significant other. 'I'm leaving. This is the car I'm in. I should be home in this much time.' So that somebody knows where you are and when to expect you. And then, check in when you get there."

Tarrant County prosecutor Janet Farmer said, "These rideshare services have become so popular, they seem like a safe option. However, stripped down from their popularity, using a rideshare service is essentially still just getting into a car with a complete stranger. Never let down your guard."​