Two women have filed suit against Uber, saying that one of its local drivers sexually assaulted one of them and exposed himself to the other.
The Circuit Court complaint also names John Kyle Lane, who was eventually indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury for the two incidents.
He is charged with sexual battery in connection with a July 22, 2017, incident in Red Bank and with indecent exposure in an incident in East Ridge 15 days later. Lane is due to appear before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman next week.
The suit said the first woman met friends for drinks in Chattanooga on the night of July 21, 2017. It says in the early morning hours of July 22, she used the Uber App to summon a ride from the Pickle Barrel. The driver arrived at 1:16 a.m.
It says when she and her male friend got in the car Lane "began offering details of his personal life that she found to be inappropriate.
She said she was alone with Lane after the male was dropped off first. She said he pulled into her driveway, then backed out and positioned his vehicle said he was between her and her house. She said he continued to discuss his recent break-up with a girlfriend, though she insisted she had to go inside.
She said when she tried to get out of the car she found that the doors were locked. She said she insisted that he unlock it and let her out. She said Lane proceeded to expose himself.
She said he then began groping one of her breasts while reaching for the other. She said she jerked away and threatened to scream if he did not unlock the door. He then unlocked the door, she ran inside her house, and he sped away.
The woman said she immediately reported the incident to the Red Bank Police and she also contacted Uber. She said she was told via the App that an investigation had been launched.
She said she was traumatized by the incident and had to undergo counseling.
The second woman said she, her boyfriend and some friends met for drinks on Aug. 6, 2017. She used the Uber App for a ride home, and Lane pulled up at 10:02 p.m.
She said during the ride that Lane tried to engage her in conversation "that she found to be inappropriate, including imploring her to engage in sexual relations with her."
The woman said she made it clear she found the conversation to be inappropriate and offensive. She said she often referred to her boyfriend to try to get him to stop.
She said as they pulled up to her house Lane asked to come inside and "have a threesome" with her and her boyfriend when he returned home.
The woman said she immediately began to exit. She said Lane yelled at her to get her attention and she saw that he was exposing himself to her. She said he told her, "You're not going anywhere until you do something about this."
She said Lane reached for her, but she was able to run to the back of her house. She said she then realized she had left her house key with her boyfriend. She said she ran crying to a neighbor's house.
The complaint said the boyfriend sought a Uber ride back to the house to aid the girlfriend, and it was Lane who answered the call. The woman told her boyfriend she did not want Lane coming back to her house, so Uber sent another driver.
The woman said Lane contacted her "to express his discontent with one of his fares being cancelled."
The woman said she filed a report with the East Ridge Police on the incident.
That woman said she was so upset by the incident that she and her boyfriend wound up moving to Florida.
The first woman said she learned of the incident with the second one from an article on East Ridge Online. She said she had been told by Uber that Lane was suspended, and she said she was surprised to learn that he was still driving.
The suit, filed by attorneys William Rieder and Scott Johnson, said Uber "acted with deliberate disregard for the safety of the public" in allowing Lane to continue as one of its drivers.