An Uber driver, who was also a teacher at the Richland School District Two, is facing criminal charges and a civil lawsuit after being abused of kidnapping and assaulting a child while picking up passengers for the rideshare company.
Gina Kessee, 58, of Columbia, taught at Blythewood Academy and drove for Uber. An anonymous woman is filing a lawsuit in Richmond County against Kessee for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting her child.
According to an incident report from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the unnamed woman called an Uber for herself and two of her minor daughters on October 17, 2020, around 5:00 p.m. to go to Chuck E. Cheese. When the woman put one of her daughters into a car seat in the back of Kessee’s vehicle, she drove away with the child. The mother attempted to open the door, but it was locked. She attempted to run after the car and called 911.
It’s not clear where police found Kessee, but she was found shortly after driving away with the child and the mother’s purse in her vehicle. The child was checked out by emergency medical responders and cleared.
Kessee told deputies she thought the mother was in the vehicle but did not look in the rear of the vehicle until she got to the restaurant. At that point, she said she tried to bring the child back to the pick-up point. The following day, Kessee was arrested and charged with kidnapping. She bonded out of jail on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. Her criminal case is ongoing.
The lawsuit is going after both Kessee and Uber. According to the suit, Kessee kidnapped and physically assaulted the child and spoke to the victim using profane language. The suit also alleges that Uber did not help police track down Kessee’s vehicle. The damages being sought are to cover the mother’s and her daughters’ psychological and psychiatric medical care and treatment.
Uber has not responded to the incident. Richland Two, however, confirmed Kessee was put on administrative leave in October 2020 and will no longer be employed by Richland Two at the end of the school year.
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