Police in Iowa City have arrested a former taxi driver and charged him with assaulting female passengers on two occasions.
The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into a string of attempted taxi cab assaults in September, January and February. Police booked 58-year-old Rufino Ruiz into the Johnson County jail Wednesday. Vicki Lalla is a spokesperson for Iowa City police.
“Ultimately he was identified by the victims through a photo array, a photo line-up,” Vicki Lalla, a spokesperson for Iowa City police, says. “He was a taxi driver at the time these two assaults occurred.”
He’s been charged with two misdemeanor assaults. Lalla says in both cases, Ruiz allegedly tried to grope his passengers after parking in front of their home as they tried to exit the taxi.
“I think everybody has to take some measure of responsibility for their own personal safety, so the standard personal safety advice or whatever you want to call it would apply, whether you’re riding in a cab or walking,” Lalla says.
Two other instances of assaults in taxis are still under investigation. The Iowa City Police Department reviews taxi licenses yearly. The city clerk in Iowa City says the city will craft additional regulations for taxicabs.