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Lyft Driver Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Female Passenger

(Photo: iStock)

Nov. 20, 2019 By Kristen Torres

A Lyft driver was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old female passenger who had fallen asleep in his vehicle during a ride to her home last year.

Welinton Fernandez, 31, of Corona, faces 25 years in prison. He was convicted by a jury after a four-day trial of first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse.

According to trial testimony, the victim called a Lyft to take her home from a Flushing bar around 5 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2018. She fell asleep during the ride and woke up to find Fernandez sexually assaulting her.

The victim, whose pants and underwear had been pulled down, then then fled the vehicle and ran home.

Police were notified the following day and the victim was treated at a local hospital where she was examined. DNA was taken from her body and was consistent with the defendant’s DNA, according to the District Attorney’s office.

“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,” said Acting Queens District Attorney, John Ryan, in a statement.

“She [the victim] had no way of knowing that her driver was a predator.”

Fernandez is set for sentencing on Dec. 10.

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