A Columbia, South Carolina Uber driver allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a child in October — and the rideshare company did not help in the search to locate the vehicle, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
The girl’s mother filed the personal injury lawsuit against Uber and its driver Gina Kessee on May 24 in Richland County Court.
The lawsuit describes a mother’s worst nightmare.
On October 17, the mother — who is not named in the lawsuit — ordered an Uber for her and her two young daughters.
After Kessee pulled up to the home in Richland County, the mother first strapped her youngest daughter in a carseat in the back of Kessee’s car, according to the lawsuit.
As the mother was trying to get her other other daughter in the car, Kessee suddenly stepped on the gas and drove off with the toddler still in the backset, according to the lawsuit.
The mother tried to grab at the door handle as the car was moving, but Kessee locked the doors, the lawsuit claims.
The mother and daughter chased the Uber on foot, but were unable to catch up, according to the lawsuit. She then called the police.
Law enforcement then contacted Uber to get the company’s assistance in locating the vehicle.
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Uber “refused to provide law enforcement with any assistance” in locating the young girl, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses Kessee of physically assaulting the young girl during the kidnapping. She also allegedly cursed at the little girl while she was driving around.
Thankfully, law enforcement officers were able to locate Kessee’s vehicle and get the little girl back to her mother.
The mother and her daughters “suffered and will in the future suffer serve and permanent emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, indignity, loss of pleasures and enjoyment of life which will in the future require psychological and psychiatric medical care and treatment,” the lawsuit claimed.
Uber and Kessee are being sued for negligence.
Columbia attorney Tyler D. Bailey is representing the mother and her daughters in the lawsuit.
In October, Richland County Sheriff’s Department charged Kessee with kidnapping, according to court records. She was released on bond soon after she was booked on Oct. 18. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in the prison for the charge.
Kessee was a teacher at Blythewood Academy, which is a Richland County School District Two school.
“Upon notification of Gina Kessee’s arrest and charges, the District immediately placed the employee on administrative leave,” Libby Roof, a Richland Two spokesperson, told FITSNews.
Kessee will no longer work for Richland Two at the end of this school year, Roof told FITSNews.
Kessee, 59, still holds a valid South Carolina teacher’s certification.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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