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Photo via Flickr/quotecatague.com

A Lyft driver who sexually assaulted a female passenger in January 2018 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on Wednesday.

Welinton Fernandez, the 31-year-old driver from Corona, was convicted of criminal sexual act in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree in November 2019. In addition to the 10-year sentence he received on Jan. 22, Fernandez will serve eight years of post release supervision and will be required to register as a sex offender.

“A woman who’d called for a car, thought she would safely make it to her home. Instead, the unsuspecting woman was violated by this defendant, who was found guilty by a jury of his peers,” Katz said.

Fernandez picked up a 28-year-old woman who had hailed a Lyft around 4:50 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2018. The woman, who had worked a long shift and had been with friends, fell asleep during the car ride to her home four miles away. Still in the car, she woke up to find Fernandez sexually assaulting her and her pants and underwear pulled down, prosecutors said.

The woman fled the car and ran home.
The next day, the police were notified and the woman was treated at a local hospital and attended to by a sexual assault forensic examiner, who found DNA consistent with Fernandez’s.

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