Uber driver due in court over alleged kidnapping

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An Uber driver alleged to have kidnapped four passengers on Halloween night in Santa Monica, and sparked a brief chase is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Garden Grove residents Khaled Elsayedsa Ali is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on four counts of kidnapping and one count of fleeing a pursuing police officer while driving recklessly, according to the District Attorney’s Office. If convicted, he could face up to 23 years in state prison.

Police received a 911 call about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday from a woman in the area of 23rd Street and Santa Monica Boulevard stating that Ali refused to stop and let her out of the vehicle, according to a statement from the Santa Monica Police Department.

As officers were responding, three additional 911 calls were received from multiple victims reporting similar incidents possibly involving the same suspect and vehicle, police said. Each reported the suspect may be armed with a gun and threatened to kidnap them.

Officers located the vehicle and attempted to stop the driver, but the driver fled with two victims in the car — a male and female — and led officers on a pursuit in a busy upscale neighborhood. The chase ended near Montana Avenue and Bundy Drive. During the pursuit, the two passengers were able to jump out of the vehicle, and they were treated for scrapes and bruises,police said.

According to prosecutors, prior to the pursuit, Ali allegedly picked up a man who had called for a ride, then drove in the opposite direction and refused to let the man out of the car, but the passenger managed to jump out. He then allegedly picked up a female passenger, who also had to leap from the vehicle when Ali drove away from her destination.

According to an Uber spokeswoman, Ali’s access to the platform was revoked as soon as the company found out about his actions.

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