Uber driver raped, assaulted while police searched for her for nearly 90 minutes

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. — Many questions are being raised to 911 centers on how they trace calls after an Uber driver in Tennessee was raped and assaulted by a passenger for nearly an hour and a half while police could not find her.

Police say the driver picked up a passenger near Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the attack, she called her boyfriend who was in metro Atlanta. He called for help, but his call was routed to 911 operators in the wrong county.

Investigators say Zachary Johnson attacked his Uber driver on Saturday night.

Her car can be seen on a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera.

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“Something that’s completely shocking. And it’s sickening just to know what happened right here,” neighbor Joey Johnson said told WTVC.

Dispatchers were able to call the woman and hear the assault going on, but police could not find her for almost 90 minutes.

Hamilton County, Tennessee’s 911 Director of Operations Jeff Carney explained why it took so long to locate the woman.

“Somehow or another, I guess, the Georgia 911 center interpreted that the was in or near Bradley County,” Carney said.

Court records show the initial call came from the victim’s boyfriend in Hall County. His call was redirected to Bradley County, Tennessee.

Dispatchers there tried to ping the victim’s location from her cell phone number, but they were also able to see the nearest cell phone tower, which was a four-mile radius, not her exact location.

“I’ve not seen anything like this before. Not just the difficulty we had locating it through the pings not getting a better ping location, but the complexity of you know, the 911 centers involved,” Carney said.

National Emergency Number Association Director Brandon Ably says that inaccuracy comes down to outdated 911 technology.

“There is a lot of infrastructure that is shockingly old,” Ably said.

He says that 911′s Next Gen initiative will update their technology and send accurate locations instantly from 911 calls.

Eventually, the Uber driver was able to call police and provide a road name. Officers then managed to find the location, rescue her and arrest the suspect.





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