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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new version of events is emerging about an alleged incident between an off-duty Uber driver and a woman who claims he assaulted her.
The driver, from West View, now says he was just trying to help the woman, but police say they are unconvinced by his story.
The suspect is identified as 30-year-old Soumana Dao. He is facing several charges, including kidnapping and assault. His roommate says Dao didn’t do anything wrong.
“Because I know he is innocent. He didn’t do anything, he was trying to help the lady,” said Dao’s roommate, identified as Ouattara.
The incident began to unfold around 2 a.m. Sunday. According to West View Police, a woman in Downtown Pittsburgh at 7th Street and Penn Avenue called for an Uber driver.
“Subsequently, an Uber vehicle did arrive on the scene, she did get into the car, ask if he was her Uber driver, he said yes, she got into the car, and they proceeded out to 279 North,” said West View Police Chief Bruce Fromiak. “She became alarmed and notified the driver, asked where he was taking her, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it, everything is fine.”
Dao’s roommate tells a different story.
“He met a girl, he was going to a bar just to have fun,” said Ouattara. “He met that girl as a friend, they were talking friendly, and he asked her if she needed a ride because she was looking a little bit drunk.”
The woman got in the front seat of Dao’s vehicle.
The roommate says the woman first asked to go to the North Hills, then changed her mind, saying she wanted to go to the South Hills. According to police, Dao headed out 279 North.
“He began touching her inappropriately. She was in the front seat. They pulled up in front of his residence on Center Avenue in West View,” Chief Fromiak said.
Dao allegedly told the woman he was going home to get his coat.
But police say he was trying to pull the woman out of his car when a neighbor heard the commotion and got her away from the situation. He took her home to Dormont.
“According to him, he didn’t touch her because she was drunk and being violent with him,” Dao’s roommate said,
The woman went to police later Sunday afternoon. She told them she did not report the incident right away because she had been drinking and was too upset to think straight.
Dao is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $25,000 straight bond. Uber says Dao no longer has access to their app.