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Lyft driver accused of sexually assaulting Boulder woman on ride from Denver

Tigistu Ergo arrested on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault

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A Lyft driver has been arrested after police say he sexually assaulted a woman he was driving from Denver to Boulder in 2018.

Tigistu Belete Ergo

Tigistu Belete Ergo, 27, was arrested on Dec. 24 on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping with a sexual offense and sexual assault, according to court records.

According to an affidavit, a woman called police in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 2018, and said she believed she had been sexually assaulted by her Lyft driver.

The woman said she had been drinking in Denver with friends when a friend ordered her a ride. However, the woman became sick in the car, and the driver dropped her off in Denver and she ordered a Lyft.

The woman said she remembered the driver taking her “around” and complaining about taking her all the way to Boulder before he solicited her for oral sex.

The woman said she did not remember the assault, but she underwent a sex assault examination that did find male DNA, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, the woman remembered the driver dropping her off in Boulder before he “sped away.”

Police said the woman also lost her phone, wallet and keys in the incident. When the woman bought a new phone, her number showed a call from Ergo.

When police interviewed Ergo, he said he had given the woman and her friend a ride but denied having sex with anyone, and gave a DNA sample to police.

In May 2019, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation found Ergo’s DNA matched the DNA found on the woman.

Police pulled Ergo’s ride records, which showed that Ergo had dropped off the woman’s friend in Denver at 10:43 p.m. the night of the alleged assault but did not enter any information about a ride to Boulder, and did not pick up any other fares until 1:08 a.m. the next day in Denver.

Counting driving time, a Boulder police detective wrote in the affidavit that there was “approximately 45 minutes that Ergo’s location is unaccounted for.”

Ergo was booked into the Boulder County Jail and released on $10,000 bond. He is scheduled for a formal filing of charges on Tuesday. His booking photo has not yet been released.

Ergo has two traffic cases in Denver but no other criminal history in Colorado, according to court records.

According to the affidavit, Ergo had only been driving with Lyft for about a week when the alleged assault occured, after being deactivated from Uber due to a driving complaint.

Lyft has been the subject of concerns surrounding female passengers, as the San Francisco-based ride share company has been the subject of several lawsuits claiming the company failed to do enough to prevent sexual assault and sexual misconduct by drivers.

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