Florida Man Poses as Uber Driver, Rapes Female Passenger After Picking Her Up From Airport

A Florida man has been arrested for allegedly posing as a rideshare driver and raping a passenger he picked up from Miami International Airport last month.

The 28-year-old victim, whose identity has not been revealed, had just flown in from Salt Lake City and was looking for a cab when Fernando Avila Hernandez, pretending to be an Uber driver and offered to give her a ride to her hotel, NBC Miami reported Thursday.

Hernandez Invited Passenger to the Front to Help with Directions

Fernando Avila Hernandez
Fernando Avila Hernandez Twitter

At one point during the ride, Hernandez, 28, asked if she would sit in the front seat so she could help him out with directions. The woman — originally from Colombia — agreed to the seat change because she was not familiar with how Ubers operate, according to NBC.

"She stated she did not think anything of it because since Uber is not officially allowed in Colombia, Uber drivers sit their passengers in the front so as to not alert authorities," an affidavit on the case stated, according to the outlet.

Hernandez Offered $500 for Sex, Then Raped Her at a Nearby Parking Lot

As they approached her hotel, she offered to pay by credit card — but Hernandez said he only accepted cash, the report stated. He then allegedly offered her $500 for sex and she declined, telling him she was not a sex worker.

Hernandez, of Miami, then allegedly demanded $300 for the ride and the passenger said she didn't have that amount on her. He drove her to a parking lot behind a nearby restaurant and sexually assaulted her, authorities alleged.

Hernandez then dropped the woman off at a hotel where she alerted the hotel's staff members about the alleged attack. The suspect was later arrested after cops examined surveillance footage and recognized him from an unrelated incident.

Hernandez's Attorney Claims His Client is Innocent

Uber told NBC that Hernandez has not worked for them since 2021 and was not authorized to pick up fares. Hernandez is now facing multiple sex raps. His attorney, Bijan Sebastian Parwaresch, told NBC that his client was innocent. "We're highly objecting to the notion of an unconsensual sexual encounter," he said.

In September, a Florida Uber driver saved a woman from a sexual assault before proceeding to rape the woman himself, as previously reported. Earlier last year, a 37-year-old man pretended to be an Uber driver and raped an 18-year-old girl who was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on spring break.

Earlier this month, a serial rapist who posed as an Uber driver to lure women in Ohio was sentenced to at least 41 years in prison. Christian Burks copped to raping five women in Cleveland between October 2017 and May 2020. He posed as an Uber driver in two of those cases, according to Cleveland.com.