Former Lyft driver accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting passenger in suburbs sentenced

Alexander Sowa pleaded guilty to aggravated battery/strangulation after failing to take passenger to Des Plaines, attacking her

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, January 9, 2023
Lyft driver charged with sexual assault, kidnapping held on bond
A driver for Lyft who is charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a passenger in the northwest suburbs is being held on bond as of Tuesday afternoon.

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (WLS) -- A driver for Lyft accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a passenger in the northwest suburbs in 2019 was sentenced to five years in prison.

Alexander Sowa pleaded guilty last week to aggravated battery/strangulation. He was given credit for 1,344 days served, and therefore has less than four months remaining on his sentence.

Sowa was working as a driver for Lyft when he allegedly picked up a female passenger on May 2 and drove her to Elk Grove Village instead of the address she requested in Des Plaines, police said.

"She was going and trying to take a safe ride somewhere and unfortunately this person victimized her," Mount Prospect police Officer Greg Sill said.

According to police, once they arrived at a parking lot near Busse and Oakton, Sowa proceeded to sexually assault the victim. He then drove her from Elk Grove Village to a parking garage adjacent to the Mount Prospect Village Hall and library, where he sexually assaulted her again, police said.

SEE MORE: Lyft driver charged with kidnapping, sex assault held on bond

She was able to free herself from Sowa at the parking garage at 30 S. Emerson St. and found someone to call 911 for her about 10 a.m., police said.

"She was able to get out of the vehicle and away from the driver and found someone in the parking garage to call 911," said Sill.

In court, it was disclosed the former Lyft driver is homeless and unable to afford the $1,000 bail he needed to post to be released from custody.

A spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff's Department said only two facilities in the county house any homeless who have been placed on electronic monitoring pre-trial. However, neither facility takes those charged with sexual assault, making Sowa's situation the equivalent of no bond. As such, Sowa was expected to remain incarcerated until trial.

Lyft fired Sowa as soon as it was notified by police of the charges, and banned him from driving for the company.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.