PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An Uber driver and Penn State professor who is accused of trying to kidnap two women says the whole thing is a misunderstanding.
Richard Lomotey is married and the father of two kids. He had a promising career at a local university, but now he’s out of a job and facing charges he calls ridiculous.
“The whole incident is just absurd,” he said. “It’s just not logical and more importantly, it never happened the way it’s been projected.”
The 37-year-old man, originally from Ghana, taught as a professor at Penn State Beaver until police filed charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and harassment.
Lomotey was an Uber driver as a way to make extra cash and picked up two women at a Homewood Bar this past weekend.
“I tap on the app to zoom in on the map to see whether I should make a right turn, left turn or go straight. That’s when I realized the app was frozen, so I pulled over at the side of the road at the intersection,” he said.
According to the police report, the women accused him of not following his GPS, pulling over on a side street and locking the doors.
“She opened the door and started screaming out, ‘Niya, Niya, run,'” Lomotey said.
After sprinting from the car, the two 21-year-old women ran toward Penn Avenue and called police.
Lomotey says he never locked his doors, and after the women fled, he sat there confused.
“Within minutes, I’m talking about three minutes, Uber had sent me a notification to go pick up someone else, so then I continue picking up people throughout the night to morning,” he said.
Then, his wife called.
“She said the police just left the house looking for you over an incident,” Lomotey said.
Lomotey said he immediately searched for the nearest police station on Google and drove his Ford Fusion to the Mt. Lebanon Police station.
He learned of his charges before the judge 12 hours later.
“I just want this to be done and over with,” Lomotey said.
The two women, meanwhile, told KDKA they still stand by what they told police.
Penn State has revoked Lomotey’s access to campus.
He’s due in court for his first hearing Tuesday.