Police: Fake Uber driver arrested after brutal sexual assault of passenger

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LOS ANGELES - A 39-year-old man is facing charges after allegedly pretending to be an Uber driver and sexually assaulting a female passenger.

According to KTLA, the Los Angeles Police Department received a call about a woman screaming inside an SUV around 3:30 a.m. on April 3.

"As they drive by... they heard the screams. They can see the assault going on in the back seat of the SUV," said Chief Charlie Beck.

When officers tried to get into the SUV, the alleged attacker jumped into the driver's seat and drove away.

Police told KTLA that one of the officers was actually hit by the door, and another officer fired one shot at the vehicle.

Authorities found the alleged victim about four blocks away, but the driver was nowhere to be found.

DNA evidence from a sexual assault kit led officers to 39-year-old Dartanyum Larmar Smith.

KTLA says the chief praised the victim, saying she fought “valiantly” against her assailant, despite being choked into unconsciousness three times and brutally sexually assaulted.

Police say a friend ordered an Uber for the victim when the SUV pulled up and asked if she was waiting for an Uber.

“He was not an Uber driver. He posed as an Uber driver. That’s a very important distinction,” Beck said. “With some trepidation, she entered the vehicle.”

Authorities say he drove two blocks away and sexually assaulted her.

“This was a young woman who through absolutely no fault of her own was targeted and selected right off the street by a predator,” Beck said.

Smith was arrested and is being charged with kidnapping to commit rape, forcible rape, sodomy and assault on a peace officer.

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