Police are investigating a woman’s report that she ordered a Lyft in Deep Ellum but got in the wrong car with a stranger who sexually assaulted her during a ride home to Fort Worth.
The woman, DeLisa McMurray, said she ordered the ride at 1:15 a.m. and a man pulled up.
“I asked, ‘Is your name Daniel?’” McMurray said, using the name she had seen on the Lyft app. “He said, ‘Yes.’ He also had the purple light bar that said ‘Lyft’ so I felt OK getting in the car.”
NBC 5 does not typically report the names of sexual assault victims but McMurray said she wanted to share her story publicly as a warning to others.
"I don't want anyone else to get hurt,” she said. “I should have been more careful. But that doesn't give him the right."
The 20-year-old photographer said she was in Deep Ellum to take pictures for a website. She said she does not drink alcohol.
When the driver showed up, she said she jumped into the passenger seat and the two headed down Interstate 30 toward Fort Worth.
She said she was confused why the man asked for her address and didn't already have it from the app but she gave it to him.
"I thought it was my Lyft,” she said. “I mean he told me he was my driver."
But soon, she said, the conversation became inappropriate.
"He was asking about my exes and stuff and like guys I had been with -- sexual things," she said.
McMurray said he put his hand between her legs and she moved it away.
The driver apologized but later did it again, she said.
He also asked about her bra size and whether she liked to use drugs and knew where to buy them, she added.
"I wanted to jump out of the car,” she said. “I thought about that too. But we were on the highway."
Not far from her house in Fort Worth’s Wedgwood neighborhood, McMurray said the trip took a more dangerous turn.
"He started acting like he wasn't feeling good, taking these weird deep breathes and rubbing his stomach and stuff,” she said. “He pulled over."
She said she tried to get out.
"He grabbed me by the neck and shoulders and pulled me back in,” she said.
That's when he forced her to perform a sexual act, she said.
He then finally dropped her off at home.
"He was apologizing and he just -- when he left he kind of slammed the door and drove off,” she said.
She said she wants to share her lesson with everyone who uses ridesharing apps.
"Ask them who they're there for. Who they're there to pick up. Or what their name is,” she said. “I was dumb. I said, 'Is your name Daniel?' He said, 'Yeah.'"
She said the real Lyft driver “Daniel” called a few minutes later when he pulled up and she wasn’t there. She wasn’t able to answer because the driver had taken her phone.
Lyft issued a statement pointing out its driver was not involved and that it was cooperating with law enforcement.
Lyft also urged riders to confirm their driver by looking at the photo on the app as well as making sure the license plate number is the same.