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Crime

Uber Driver Allegedly Took Unconscious Female Passenger To Motel and Sexually Assaulted Her

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Alaric Spence, 46
Los Angeles Police/AP

A North Hollywood Uber driver — and convicted felon — was arrested for allegedly driving an unconscious female passenger to a motel and sexually assaulting her, according to Los Angeles police.

Alaric Spence, 46, of North Hollywood, was arrested Saturday, on suspicion of kidnapping to commit sexual assault, Capt. William Hayes announced at a press conference Monday.

The 24-year-old passenger had taken an Uber from downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood at about 3 a.m. Friday, but became unconscious during the trip, possibly due to alcohol intoxication, Hayes said.

Instead of taking her to her destination, Spence allegedly drove her to a motel, where he rented a room, said Hayes. He allegedly carried the unconscious woman inside the motel room and sexually assaulted her.

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The alleged victim called police when she woke up and didn’t know where she was, said Hayes.

Spence was taken into custody Saturday night and is being held on $1 million bond, according to inmate records.

Spence has five previous felony convictions for possession of narcotics, Hayes said.

Police are investigating whether Spence has sexually assaulted other women, said Hayes.

“It doesn’t seem feasible that this would be the first time,” Hayes said. “He went to the hotel, rented a room, and then carried her from his car into the room, where he assaulted her. To do something that brazen … in my investigators’ and my opinion, we believe it’s something he’s done before.”

Uber is cooperating with the investigation and has permanently banned Spence from driving for the company, a spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

No person should ever have to experience the violent act that’s been reported to police,” an Uber spokeswoman tells PEOPLE. “We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department to fully support their investigation, and the driver has been banned from the Uber app.”

Spence had been an Uber driver for six months, said Hayes.

Upon receiving information about the allegation, the driver was immediately removed from accessing the platform, according to Uber. The driver’s background was screened in accordance with California state law, which requires a seven-year look-back period for non-violent felonies.  If a non-violent felony conviction falls outside that look back period, it does not disqualify the driver.