An Uber driver is accused of sexually assaulting an older woman before dropping her off at her Fort Worth home last month, police said.
Hashem Ramezanpour, 40, is believed to have fled the country, according to a police news release Monday.
Ramenzanpour was driving for Uber, a popular ride-hailing service, when he picked up the victim in Dallas on Oct. 22 and began driving her to Fort Worth, the news release said.
Before arriving at her home, Ramezanpour stopped his car and sexually assaulted the woman, police said. His vehicle was a white 2016 Honda Civic with a Texas license plate of JBY3214.
"What has been described and reported to police is a violent act no person should ever have to go through," an Uber statement Monday night said.
Ramezanpour's Uber access was "immediately removed" from the app and he was permanently banned, the statement said.
All Uber drivers undergo a criminal background check before they gaining access to the app, according to the company.
The news of Ramezanpour's sexual assault accusation came as a shock to one of his recent riders, Amanda Leboeuf, 34, of Dallas, who had an awkward encounter with him during a ride in March that ended up stretching into August.
"I just couldn't believe it it left me kind of baffled," said Leboeuf. "You think you kind of can read people and then this happens and it's kind of alarming."
She said on March 8 around 11:00 p.m. she logged into her Lyft app to get a ride home from her job as a Customer Service Host at a Wal-Mart in Dallas. Ramezanpour showed up as a suggested driver in the area. She looked over his profile and thought he seemed like a legitimate driver.
"He looked like a fresh clean cut and decent person so I felt comfortable," said Leboeuf.
When he picked her up she said had a huge smile on his face as she entered the car.
"He was like, 'Hey, hey how are you doing,' like he knew me," said Leboeuf. "I'm kind of like I don't know who you are but you seem glad to see me. Then he says, 'You work at the door right?' saying that he shopped there and asking me how my day was."
She said right away that put her on edge. He later made small talk with her during the less than 10-minute ride to her home, then offered her his personal phone number to use outside of the Lyft app.
"He mentioned how he did live in the area and that he shops at that Wal-Mart all the time," said Leboeuf.
She said a few weeks later he came into the store and began talking to her co-workers, but it was unclear what for. She said in August he came into the store, and approached her while she was stocking a shelf, holding a young child who he said was his daughter.
"He up to me like really eagerly saying he hadn't seen me in a while," said Leboeuf. "At the same time he kept looking over at this lady standing a few feet away. I asked if that was his wife and he just kind of smiled and smirked it off.
Then, she said he asked her for her phone number.
"I said, 'I don't know about that,' then he said we could go eat or have some drinks or something like that," said Leboeuf. "The whole thing just made me wonder if he had been around watching me."
He insisted that she take his phone number again and left the store. She said later that night she received a phone call from from him, recognized the number and didn't answer. A few days later he called again.
"I didn't give him my number," said Leboeuf. "I answered and he said his name and I abruptly hung up on him and that was it. It was really awkward. I have concerns about Uber and Lyft. I've tried taking rides with women but a lot of times it's mostly men."
Anyone with information on Ramezanpour's whereabouts is asked to call the police sex crimes unit at 817-392-4350.
Star-Telegram writer Prescotte Stokes III contributed to this report.