Police say a teenage girl staged a daring escape after being kidnapped by an Uber driver on her way home from a friend's Sweet 16 party, narrowly escaping what they believe would have been a sexual assault.
Sean Williams was arraigned this week on a number of charges stemming from the July incident, in which police said he picked up the girl after she arranged an Uber ride home from the friend's Sweet 16 party. As NBC News reported, the unnamed 15-year-old girl caught the ride at 11:15 p.m. on Long Island following the party and was headed back to her home in Brooklyn. However, the driver allegedly tried to convince the girl to drink with him, the Nassau County District Attorney's Office said.
Police said that the girl continued to refuse and asked to go home, repeatedly telling Williams that she was only 15-years-old, but Williams still began to drive away from her home and toward his own home. The district attorney's office said that Williams intended to sexually assault the young girl at his home after giving her alcohol.
But as they were headed toward the driver's home, the teen girl came up with a plan to escape and told Williams that she needed to go to the bathroom. When he stopped at a McDonald's, the girl called the police and was able to escape.
Afterward, authorities praised the young girl's quick thinking in thwarting the attempting kidnapping.
"The girl was terrorized by the defendant's alleged behavior and bravely took action to contact police and free herself," District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
As NBC New York reported, police arrested Williams four days after the alleged kidnapping attempt.
Sean Williams has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, and endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held in jail on bail set at $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash.Williams, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, has his own account of how the events took place, his lawyer said. The attorney noted that there were "several factors" that contrasted with the teenage girl's account.
"The alleged victim had her cellphone on her person the entire car ride and at the first opportunity after she made the request to use a bathroom Mr. Williams obliged wherein she entered the McDonald's unaccompanied," his attorney said.
A representative for Uber also told NBC News that Sean Williams was banned from the app after his arrest on kidnapping charges.