An Uber driver accused of chasing down a woman he had driven home and raping her outside her Villas apartment has a court hearing Monday morning.
Felix Torres, 37, has been in jail for more than a month after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested him as a rape suspect in December. Security cameras captured footage of a man deputies say is Torres dropping off his Uber passenger at the Ashlar Apartments on Corbel Circle, putting on a mask, catching up to the woman and covering her mouth as he attacks her. The man left his victim on the ground and ran away with her phone.
Torres has a hearing at 8:30 a.m. at the Lee County Courthouse.
It is unclear how Torres was able to become an Uber driver despite his criminal history. Former FBI agent and criminal defense attorney Bob Foley tells WINK News that, in some situations, information in a background check isn’t available, and that’s how people slip through the cracks.
“There are a significant number of these cases with Uber and other corporation-type drivers, and sexual assaults,” Foley said. “For example, in 2020 Uber had reported over 900 of these types of incidents; 151 or so involved actual rape cases.”
Torres’ felony history includes burglary, narcotics and armed robbery.
While ridesharing apps seem like the safe alternative to drinking and driving, Foley says taking an Uber or Lyft is not without its own risks, and what happened at the Ashlar Apartments is not unique.
“Make sure that somebody knows that you are, in fact, taking a ride service provider, and when you expect to be home, such that they are anticipating hearing from you when you get home,” Foley said. “Try to get dropped off in a well-lit area. And if you can, most importantly, try to rideshare.”
Torres was given a $500,000 bond but instead remained in custody. His attorney filed a motion to have that bond reduced; the hearing for that will be on Jan. 30.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.