Crime and Courts

Lyft Driver Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Passenger in Queens: DA

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What to Know

  • A Lyft driver has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old woman who fell asleep in the back of his vehicle in Queens
  • Welinton Fernandez, 31, picked up the woman around 4:50 a.m. for a 4-mile ride back home in January 2018, prosecutors said
  • The woman fell asleep in the back of Fernandez's car and didn't wake up until she felt him sexually assaulting her

A Lyft driver has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old woman who fell asleep in the back of his vehicle in Queens, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The victim called for a rideshare after having drinks with friends at a Flushing bar when she got off work in January 2018, according to the Queens District Attorney's Office. Welinton Fernandez, 31, picked up the woman around 4:50 a.m. for a 4-mile ride back home.

The woman fell asleep in the back of Fernandez's car and didn't wake up until she felt him sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said. Her pants and underwear had been pulled down but she managed to escape and run into her home.

Police were notified of the assault the next day and the DNA collected from the woman's body matched Fernandez, according to officials.

“The defendant has been convicted of what can only be described as the worst nightmare for any woman who has had to travel alone in this city," Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan said.

Fernandez faces up to 25 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse.

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