Dearborn Heights Uber driver charged for sexually assaulting passenger

Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 18:26:31-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged a Dearborn Heights man with sexually assaulting an Uber rider.

It's alleged that 37-year-old Wessam Ali-Karem Al-Thwej sexually assaulted a 24-year-old Roseville woman when driving as her Uber driver around 9 a.m. on July 10.

The prosecutors office says Detroit police were dispatched to the area on Lantz Street and Chrysler Service Drive in Detroit for the reported rape in progress.

When they arrived, officers located the victim laying on the side of the road.

Medics arrived on scene and transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment.

7 Action News spoke with people who live in the neighborhood about the event.

Local father, Phillip Simmons said police stopped by to ask him if he saw anything but, unfortunately he had not, "When something like that happens you’re just afraid," said Simmons.

It is alleged that Al-Thwej sexually assaulted the victim in his car then put her out of his car before fleeing the scene.

Unfortunately, this case is one of thousands in recent years.

In July, a lawsuit was filed against Uber Technologies alleging that women passengers in multiple states were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, harassed, and more.

The lawsuit comes after Uber released its second U.S. Safety Report in June, stating that there were 998 sexual assault incidents in 2020 alone.

The company also disclosed that it received 3,824 reports of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020.

Wanda Tolbert who grew up down the street from where the alleged assault happened she said, "I don’t raise my children or my grandchildren to be in fear, but now they got to be watching everywhere they go and they shouldn’t have to do that."

A Detroit Police Department investigation led to the arrest of Al-Thewj on September 2.

Wessam Ali-Karem Al-Thwej has been charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree, one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct – Third Degree, and one count of Unlawful Imprisonment.

He was arraigned Wednesday in 36th District Court and given a $250,000 cash/surety bond. If released, Al-Thwej will be given a GPS tether.

The Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for September 16 at 8:30 a.m., and the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for September 22 at 8:45 a.m., before Judge Kenneth King.

"If you need a ride, I'd call a relative. Call someone you trust because it’s becoming more and more dangerous," said Tolbert.