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Costa Mesa Uber driver charged with raping his passenger

Costa Mesa Uber driver charged with raping his passenger
Angel Sanchez, 36, was charged Tuesday with a felony count of rape of an intoxicated woman. (Orange County district attorney's office)

An Uber driver from Costa Mesa is facing a rape charge in connection with a sexual assault of a female passenger who fell asleep in his vehicle last month, authorities said.

The Orange County district attorney's office on Tuesday charged Angel Sanchez, 36, with one count of rape of an intoxicated victim. If convicted, he could face up to eight years in state prison.

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Authorities said the incident occurred March 30 when the woman's friends helped her request a ride to her Santa Ana home from a company gathering in Newport Beach because she was intoxicated.

Prosecutors said Sanchez picked up the woman in a 2016 Toyota Sienna. During the ride, the woman fell asleep, and when she woke up she was being sexually assaulted in the back seat of the van on a street near her home, authorities said.

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Officers worked with Uber to determine the driver's identity, and two days later, police arrested Sanchez at his Costa Mesa home.

Sanchez is free on $100,000 bond. He is expected to appear in Orange County Superior Court on Monday for his arraignment, according to court records.

An Uber representative said last month that Sanchez was removed from the company's ride-hailing app as soon as Uber became aware of the allegation.

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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