Man accused of posing as Uber driver, raping passenger, passes on plea deal

It’s one of the worst fears of anyone getting into a ride-share driver’s car and police say it happened two years ago in Tampa.

A driver posing as an Uber driver is accused of raping a woman who got into his car. 

Gary Pyrus is charged with sexual battery and kidnapping. At a hearing Friday morning to choose whether to plead guilty or go to trial, and he chose to put his fate into the hands of a jury.

At his pretrial hearing, he passed on what prosecutor Melissa Grajales said was a generous offer from the state.

"We offered seven years prison followed by eight years of sex offender probation. As far as I know, that’s been rejected. [I] don't think he has any interest," explained Grajales.

Pyrus' defense attorney Brett Metcalf confirmed he had passed on the deal.

Prosecutors say in July 2020, Pyrus showed up at The Patio bar in South Tampa. They say he saw a woman at the bar and was able to find out her name. He followed her out and pretended to be her Uber driver, investigators say.

Reports show the woman panicked after he drove past her destination. Prosecutors say he took her to a deserted parking lot and sexually assaulted her, and then let her go.

Investigators were able to track down Pyrus after looking at surveillance video from area businesses. 

Now, nearly two years later, Pyrus will come face-to-face with his accuser.

His trial is set for May 9.