Last updated: 08:11 PM ET, Sat August 08 2015

Uber Admits Mistakenly Granting Driver Status to Assault Suspect

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | August 08, 2015

Uber Admits Mistakenly Granting Driver Status to Assault Suspect

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In the wake of a Dallas Uber driver’s arrest for sexual assault of a passenger, the transportation service’s internal investigation determined that they had mistakenly granted him driver status without a background check, WFAA News 8 reported.

News 8 obtained a letter sharing the results of the internal investigation sent to Dallas code compliance director Kris Sweckard by Uber Dallas general manager Leandre Johns.

Uber driver Talal Chammout, 56 was arrested for the assault on July 25, and Johns said in the letter,"[Chammout] provided Uber with a fake City of Dallas license. The fact that his license was fake means he never underwent either a City of Dallas or Uber background check."

Johns said Chammout's account was marked "will not be driving" at that time. However, "on April 17, 2015, an Uber representative mistakenly granted Mr. Chammout access to Uber as a driver."

The Associated Press cited officials who said Chammout would have failed the background check because of the felony on his record — he had served time on a federal weapons charge and was released in 2012.

As per the letter, Johns said the company has conducted an "audit of all limo companies and livery drivers who use Uber in Dallas today."

This includes a “manual review of each City of Dallas limousine permit,” that was used as ID when signing up for Uber, and making sure each driver has undergone an Uber-specific background check.

Johns also said in the letter that safety procedures will be improved going forward, with “spot checks” to make sure IDs and documents in their system are accurate and “creation of a new approval layer” before drivers are allowed to carry passengers.

Regarding the health of the victim, WFAA News 8 quoted a Dallas police detective who testified at a hearing on Thursday that she awoke with a large bump on the back of her head and scrapes on her knees the morning after she was dropped off.

The arrest warrant states that the woman then received calls and texts from a number she determined was on her Uber ride receipt from someone named "Talal."

WFAA News 8 found out that Chammout has bonded out of Dallas County Jail as of Friday evening under several conditions, including he "not leave the State of Texas" and "not to act as a driver or provided transportation."

In the letter, Johns admitted the company committed errors.

"In this instance, we failed to live up to our own high standards, for which we are truly sorry," Johns said. "We are determined to learn from the mistakes that were made so we can do better in the future. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family."'

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