Alleged Sexual Attacks By Taxi Driver Alarm Spring Breakers

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH - A West Palm Beach man is still in the Bay County jail Wednesday, but he's facing more rape charges. Bay County Sheriff's deputies charged Edgar Eduardo Lopez-Jaramillo with an additional count of sexually battery and kidnapping.

Panama City Beach police say Lopez-Jaramillo had a valid taxi driver permit from the city and they say he did not have a criminal record.

The story now has spring breakers thinking twice before jumping into a cab.

"We were kind of skeptical at first because we were like our hotel is pretty far away," said Susan Purdy, a spring breaker from Indiana.

Twenty-two year old Susan Purdy and her friend are on spring break from Indiana. They go to and from the super clubs in taxis.

"We try to call cabs we've taken before or cabs that we know people have taken before that are safe. We always try to make sure we're on the right route," said Purdy.

Purdy said she's now taking extra precautions after learning about a CK Taxi Cab driver who's accused of separate sex attacks on two spring breakers.

Panama City Beach police arrested twenty-two year old Edgar Eduardo Lopez-Jaramillo Monday on sexual battery charges.They say he picked up a spring breaker on March 10th, took her to a secluded area off Front Beach Road, and raped her.

Then Tuesday Bay County Sheriff's deputies charged him with sexual battery and kidnapping. They say he picked up another woman early Monday morning off Thomas drive, forcibly undressed her, then groped her, before she escaped.

Beach city officials say had no reason to suspect any problems when Lopez-Jaramillo applied for his taxi permit.

"If he had a criminal history, we wouldn't have allowed it. We do deny some drivers if they have a criminal history or if they have a bad driving record. He didn't at the time," said Chief Drew Whitman of the Panama City Beach.

Because of the incident, authorities are reminding spring breakers and locals to be careful when using taxi's.

"Travel in pairs. Be aware of your surroundings and if something doesn't look right or if someone doesn't look right, then certainly don't get in the car with them," said Major Tommy Ford with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

"You're expecting a safe ride, but you never know. Two girls by themselves obviously pretty vulnerable, you have to be careful not of yourselves but the people around you," said Purdy.

Beach police issued permits for about 300 taxi drivers and 55 companies, which includes Lopez-Jaramillo.

A judge set Lopez-Jaramillo's bond Wednesday at $100,000.


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