PHOENIX — Phoenix Police are investigating after a Scottsdale woman says she was groped and attacked by her Uber passenger earlier this month.
Stephanie Johnson drives for Uber part-time. She says she usually doesn't go out late at night, but was working around 2 a.m. December 4.
She said she was on her last call of the night when she got a bad feeling about a drunk passenger she was picking up in Phoenix.
"Get the heck out of here right now and he was already in my back seat. It was too late."
About 2 minutes into the ride, she says he got aggressive. He told her to turn off her radio station and turn off her phone.
"I told him 'Not happening. Not in my vehicle. No way,'" said Johnson.
Then she says he reached around from the back and grabbed her chest.
"I put my elbow up and smacked him in the head really hard," she said.
She yelled at him to get out and pushed the 911 help button on her Uber App.
Then she grabbed her flashlight, which has a hidden stun gun. She hit him with the flashlight first, then ran out a pulled open the back seat. She hit him with the stun gun until he rolled out of the car she said.
"I got him out of my car and drove off and I cried," she explains. "I shook and I cried. Pretty scary. If I didn’t have my flashlight with me. I didn’t want to think about what really could have happened to me," said Johnson.
Johnson said she connected with a dispatcher after hitting the 911 button but didn't connect with the police until she was home.
"I just happened to look up and see I’m on 7th street. I didn’t know anything other than that. I’m in the pitch dark by myself with a drunk man in the back seat," she said.
Johnson filed reports with Phoenix Police, who say they are investigating the incident.
She also reported the incident to Uber. The comment sent 12 News this statement:
"What the driver reported is something no one should have to go through. The rider no longer has access, and Uber stands ready to work with law enforcement on their investigation."
"I had the devil looking at me and by God, I was not going to let it happen," Johnson told 12 News. "I don’t think the guy will ever remember, honestly. But it was the scariest night of my life."
Johnson says she doesn't have the passenger's name or contact information. She hopes Uber and the police can work together to track him down.
"This guy knows who I am. He saw my face before I picked him up. He knows my driver's license, he knows my plates," Johnson said.
She also thinks more can be done to protect drivers and passengers. She wants Uber to make it affordable for drivers to have cameras in their cars. She also wants drivers to go through self-defense training.
"I need to put it out there for people to understand. This is the side of the driver," said.
Despite all that's happened, Johnson is back out on the road. And she doesn't want to deter other people from driving.
"It’s a great side hustle," Johnson says. "It makes good money for people and 99% of the people I’ve dealt with in the last year? Totally cool," she told 12 News.
She says she runs her own pet care company full-time and drives for Uber on the side as a way to raise money for people who need pet food.
"This guy wasn’t going to take that away from me," she explains. "He’s like the bad egg. He’s the one percent of the hundred," Johnson said.