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Old 01-27-2020, 08:16 AM
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voiceofreason voiceofreason is offline
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Default WF, 30 sues Lyft and the negro driver she says raped her in St. Louis


Woman sues Lyft and the driver she says raped her in St. Louis

Jan 24, 2020

ST. LOUIS — A nurse who says she was raped last year by a Lyft driver in a St. Louis alley has filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court against the company and the driver.

The 30-year-old woman is referenced in court papers only as Jane Doe, but Cristen Giangarra held a news conference Thursday saying she wanted to speak publicly about the ordeal.

Giangarra, her lips quivering at times, recounted how on that June night she had several drinks, chose not to drive and contacted Lyft in a decision that “forever altered” her life.

“I harbor no shame in my actions,” she said. “I acted responsibly by not drinking and driving. I chose to use the app designed to safely transport passengers, and ultimately I was punished for this decision.”

She is a registered nurse who lived in St. Louis at the time. She has since moved away, her attorney said.

The suit was filed Wednesday by Chicago-based attorney Michael L. Gallagher.

The driver, who has been charged with first-degree rape and kidnapping, is Larry Donnell Ward, 53, of the 3300 block of Bay Tree Drive in St. Peters.

According to charges filed by St. Louis prosecutors on Dec. 5, Ward picked up a woman on June 22 in the 1000 block of Clark Avenue, turned off his ride-share location software and pulled into an alley. He then raped the woman while she was intoxicated, charges allege.

The suit contends that San Francisco-based Lyft failed to either conduct adequate background checks on Ward or failed to reject him as a driver.

Gallagher said his firm’s research uncovered a criminal record for Ward dating back to the 1980s including a sexual assault case from 2002 that did not result in a conviction. Other cases include theft and drug charges in the Chicago area, he said.

“When Cristen got in the vehicle that night, she had no idea that Lyft had actually sent a predator to pick her up and take her home,” Gallagher said.

He said Lyft’s background checks are inadequate in part because they only search seven years back and don’t include fingerprinting. He said the checks miss up to 10% of people “who should never be on the road if they had a proper screening process.”


Larry Donnell Ward, a former Lyft driver who lives in St. Peters, was charged with first-degree rape and kidnapping in December for allegedly assaulting a passenger. Photo provided by St. Peters police
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