BOSTON (CBS) — An Uber passenger claims her driver, 47-year-old Kamal Essalak, locked her in the back seat shortly after being picked up on Commonwealth Ave in Boston last Thursday night. Essalak pleaded not guilty to a single kidnapping charge then walked out Brighton District Court on Monday.
“The driver said quote hey babe and said how this was going to be an hour-long ride when it was only around the corner,” said Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Margaret Hegarty.READ MORE: Massachusetts' 3 Casinos Have Encouraging Month In March
Prosecutors said Essalak jumped into the back seat with the woman.
“Said that while she was screaming and hitting the window to get out the defendant said that he was just kidding and he was periodically laughing,” said Hegarty.
The woman was able to escape through the front seat.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
“There is a distinct language barrier here. I do think that there was a great misunderstanding,” said Defense Attorney Thomas Chirokas. “We’re going to take it one step at a time and we’ll be back here in May.”
Chirokas called the allegations sensational and said his client has completed thousands of Uber trips over the last four years without any complaints.
Uber released a statement saying: “What’s been reported is horrifying and something no one should have to go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this driver’s access to Uber. We appreciate Acton Police Department’s quick actions that helped lead to an arrest in this case.”MORE NEWS: Plainville Firefighter In Coma After Contracting COVID-19
Essalak was ordered to stay away from the victim and is due back in court next month.