Women escape man they mistook for Uber driver; deputies searching for him

Updated: Jun. 21, 2019 at 5:39 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Deputies say two women in Beaufort County are lucky to have escaped a man they mistook for their Uber driver early Friday morning.

While the women waited outside Reilley’s Plaza for an Uber ride they had arranged, deputies say a man drove up in a dark-colored SUV. Although the women were aware the driver was not the Uber driver they were waiting for, they told investigators they thought they saw an Uber sign on his windshield and got into the vehicle, one in the front seat and the other in the back seat.

They asked the driver for a ride to their south end vacation unit. They told deputies they were tired and not entirely familiar with the route to their vacation rental, so when the man drove toward the north end of Hilton Head Island, they were not alarmed.

But that changed, they said, when the man drove onto a dirt road and they realized the area did not look familiar.

The woman in the front seat told the driver she was calling 911, but the driver grabbed the phone from her and stopped the vehicle, deputies say.

Both women said they got out of the vehicle and the driver got out and approached them. One of the women grabbed the cellphone back and called 911.

Deputies say when the driver realized 911 had been called, he got back into the SUV and quickly drove off.

"Although the driver’s intention in offering the women a ride is unknown, it is clear that both women were very fortunate to escape harm," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

The women described the man as having a dark complexion and was possibly Hispanic or Indian and stands approximately 5-foot-3 with a medium build and dark hair. They said the SUV was black or dark-colored with three rows of seats, similar to a Chevrolet Suburban.

It is not clear whether the man is a legitimate Uber driver or drives for a similar ride-hailing service.

Anyone with information on man’s identity or who may have seen him driving a black or dark-colored SUV through Reilley’s Plaza at approximately 12:30 a.m. Friday is asked to contact Sgt. Seth Reynells at 843-255-3709.

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