Uber driver arrested on suspicion of DUI, kidnapping

Signal File Photo.

A California Highway Patrol officer’s timely traffic stop helped a woman who claimed to be kidnapped over the weekend, during an early-morning Saturday Uber ride, according to law enforcement officials.

The incident began when the victim, who was in the Pacoima-Sylmar area, requested an Uber ride to Canyon Country, sometime after 3 a.m. Saturday, according to a CHP-Newhall area Office preliminary field report.

After the woman got into the driver’s white 2016 four-door Hyundai Elantra, she became extremely concerned when the driver started exhibiting signs of intoxication while making suggestive comments to her and appearing to act under the influence of alcohol.

When the driver got to the Golden Valley Road off-ramp on the northbound lanes of Highway 14, he informed his passenger that he was pulling over to relieve himself.

Seeing this as her opportunity to escape the situation, the woman got out of the car screaming as soon as the car stopped and, according to the preliminary report, ran toward the red-and-blue flashing lights from a traffic stop CHP officers were conducting about a quarter-mile down the road. The suspect reportedly gave chase and caught up to the woman, managing to grab her shoulder as two CHP officers, who had heard a woman’s screams during their aforementioned traffic stop and were already running toward the suspect and victim, came upon the driver and passenger, according to the arrest report.

During the course of their investigation, officers learned the suspect, Harpreet Garcha, 29, of North Hills, also allegedly was over the legal blood-alcohol level, and he was taken into custody, according to the arrest report.

Garcha was released from custody at 10 p.m. on Saturday on $100,000 bail. 

CHP officers are still investigating the case and expected to present charges to the District Attorney’s Office for filing soon, according to CHP officials.

Los Angeles Police Department officers confirmed Garcha also was arrested in the San Fernando Valley by Mission Division officers Wednesday, Oct. 7, on suspicion of committing felony vandalism.

No details regarding that incident were immediately available, according to Officer Chavez of the LAPD.

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