A Lyft driver has been charged with threatening to kill a passenger and is accused of trying to follow her inside her home.
According to a police report, a 24-year-old woman was leaving work near 36th and Farnam Streets shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday and ordered a ride home from Lyft, a ride-hailing company, through a smartphone app.
Lyft driver Joseph Kujath, 34, of Omaha picked up the woman and drove her home, the report said.
When they arrived at the woman’s home, police said, Kujath got out of the vehicle and tried to follow the woman inside. The woman told police that Kujath said, “I am going to kill you.”
Officials say the woman then sprayed pepper spray in Kujath’s face. He tried to grab the woman but couldn’t, and then drove away, police said.
In a court hearing Monday, a prosecutor asked the judge to set a high bail for Kujath because prosecutors were concerned about what Kujath would have done had the woman not been carrying pepper spray.
A judge set Kujath’s bail at $250,000 on the terroristic threat charge. He would have to post 10% of that, or $25,000, to be released.
Kujath is due back in court next month.
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When reached by phone Tuesday, the woman said it’s sad that these kinds of things still happen, and she sent prayers to Kujath’s family. Beyond that, the woman declined to comment.
On its website, Lyft said drivers must pass professionally administered background checks, which include a Social Security check, a nationwide criminal search, a county court records search and a search of the sex-offender registry.
“Anyone whose background check shows violent crimes, sexual offenses, or other disqualifying felonies is not allowed to drive on the platform,” the website said.
The company also said it performs background checks on active drivers every 12 months.
Kujath has previous felony convictions for attempted burglary and attempted forgery, both out of Gage County.
A representative from Lyft said the driver is no longer with the company.
“Community safety is fundamental to Lyft and the behavior described is unacceptable,” the company said in a statement. “Upon becoming aware of the allegations, we initiated an investigation and permanently deactivated the driver’s account. We stand ready to assist law enforcement.”