Taxi driver sentenced to 9 years for sexually assaulting passenger

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(PHOTO: MGN Online)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A taxi driver from Silver Spring, Maryland was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting a passenger he picked up last spring in Northwest, D.C., officials say.

24-year-old Yared Mekonnen was driving his taxi during the early hours of May 28, 2017 when he picked up the victim and her boyfriend who were both intoxicated. At some point, the boyfriend exited the taxi and once Mekonnen was alone with the victim, he sexually assaulted her and prevented her from getting out of the car, according to a U.S. Attorney.

Officials say the victim screamed as Mekonnen kept driving. There was a struggle, and while attempting to convince the victim not to call for help, Mekonnen grabbed her cellphone and it fell out of the window.

Finally, another driver pulled in front of the taxicab, forcing it to stop in the 4900 block of 16th Street NW. Shortly afterward, police arrived on the scene and Mekonnen was arrested. He has been in custody ever since, says the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mekonnen pled guilty to charges of second-degree sexual abuse and attempted kidnapping. After completing his prison term, Mekonnen will be placed on 20 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, officials say.