Woman speaks out after alleged sexual assault by Moncton taxi driver
'I just kept repeating I am really tired, please just drive me back to my friend's place'
Chantal Thanh De Alba of Shediac is speaking out and warning others after she alleges she was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver on Saturday night in Moncton.
De Alba was looking forward to a relaxing night out with dinner and then dancing at a downtown club.
On her way to the restaurant, she said she chatted with the taxi driver who picked her up at her friend's house.
"He gave me his card which he wrote his first name and his phone number," De Alba said. "He told me whenever I'm done for the night, when I need to go back to my friend's place, he can drive me back."
She called the driver at the end of the night, but knew something was wrong when he missed the turn for her friend's home in the north end of Moncton.
"And then he started asking me, 'Do you want to have fun? Let's go have fun together? Let's go somewhere together. Just you and me, let's go have fun.'"
"I kept answering to him, 'No, I'm tired and all I want to do is go back to my friend's place."
'I was really scared'
De Alba said the driver eventually parked in a dark and isolated area.
"There were no lights, no houses, there's no traffic."
I had no idea where I was exactly, and I was scared that he would find me.- Chantal Thanh De Alba
That's when she says he told her to get in the front seat with him.
"I was scared that if I would say no or do something to resist that he was going to do something violent or something really bad to me."
De Alba said when she got out of the back seat, she considered running and trying to hide.
"I had no idea where I was exactly, and I was scared that he would find me."
She did get in the front seat and De Alba said that's when he started touching her.
"He was touching me in a sexual way and I just kept repeating, 'I'm really tired, please just drive me back to my friend's place,' and at some point he started continuing to drive as he was continuing also to touch me."
Friend tried to help
De Alba was texting her friend, Daniel MacLean, all night and when the taxi driver missed the turn to his house she asked MacLean whether there was a way for him to track where she was.
At the time, MacLean said he assumed the taxi driver was lost.
"I didn't know she was in danger," he said.
When he called De Alba, MacLean told CBC News he could only hear rustling, and then De Alba asking the taxi driver where they were.
What he didn't know was that De Alba had him on mute, and was hoping he would be an "audio witness" to what was happening in the taxi.
MacLean said he eventually realized his friend was in trouble.
"I heard the cab driver ask if she wants to go and have some fun, that's when I was really worrying, obviously."
He said he also heard De Alba say, "Your hands are cold."
MacLean said he stayed on the line and heard the taxi driver say the car was getting close to his house.
He went outside and when the taxi pulled up he took a picture of the licence plate.
De Alba said the driver demanded payment, and despite her fear and confusion she obliged, then ran inside the house.
"I was just you know sitting on the floor and crying and hyperventilating, panicking," she said. "I just couldn't believe that that had happened."
De Alba, who is a domestic violence and sexual assault social worker, knew she had to call the police to report what had happened in order to protect others.
She said RCMP took her statement that night, while MacLean gave his statement to police on Tuesday.
Sgt. Tyson Nelson told CBC News that on Feb. 23 at approximately 1:00 a.m. Codiac RCMP received a complaint of sexual assault and an investigation is underway.
De Alba also reported the incident to White Cab.
"The woman who took my call was just horrified and could not believe that happened and was very supportive and then congratulated me for calling the police," said De Alba.
Benny Cormier, the owner of White Cab, would not do an interview but confirmed that a complaint was received and said the driver has been suspended while the company, and police, look into it.