Prosecutors are calling a recently-axed Chicago cab driver "a danger to the community" after he was charged in two separate, terrifying attacks on passengers in his taxi.
Eric Chung, 29, was held on two $1 million bonds Tuesday after prosecutors linked his alleged Sunday morning rape and kidnapping of a 24-year-old woman to an early February attack on another female passenger, reports ABC Chicago.
Around 3 a.m. Sunday, Chung picked up three women leaving Home Bar in Prospect Heights in a white Buick Terraza taxi van marked “AAA Futura Taxi,” reports the Arlington Cardinal.
En route to their destination, police say the women told Chung to stop the cab after he began "acting inappropriately," leading two of the passengers to jump out a red light. According to the Cardinal, the third woman was exiting through the open door when Chung sped away, trapping her inside.
CBS Chicago reports Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy said Chung started strangling the woman as she fought with him, and drove her to a secluded industrial lot where he raped her in the vehicle.
The victim's two friends who escaped immediately called 911 after Chung sped off, and police quickly tracked the cab to the parking lot of an industrial park in the 800 block of East Algonquin Road. CBS reports police heard the woman yelling for help, and caught Chung as he was assaulting the woman.
According to WGN, the first incident Chung is accused of happened on Feb. 2 around 4 a.m. outside the same bar. According to police, Chung offered to let a 21-year-old woman warm up in his cab while waiting for her ride and sped off when she agreed to enter.
Chung allegedly climbed into the back seat and fondled the woman before demanding sex. McCarthy said the woman agreed to get Chung off her just long enough to escape, and when he moved, she ran from the van screaming for neighbors to call the police.
At Tuesday's bond hearing, McCarthy said of Chung's victims, “Their worst nightmare happened. He used his employment as a cab driver to lure innocent young women into his cab, a place where they thought that they would be safe,” McCarthy said.
AAA Futura Taxi told reporters Chung was fired on Feb. 20 for failing to pay money owed and was supposed to have removed the company's decals from his car.
The ex-cabbie's last known address was 1910 Wong Parkway in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood, though Chung said he was currently homeless. According to prosecutors, he confessed in both cases.
Chung is charged with aggravated kidnapping in both cases, as well as criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault. His preliminary hearing is set for March 19.