• DBCH police chief calls for safety changes after pedicab driver arrested on rape charges


    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The police chief in Daytona Beach is calling for more safety changes to a pedicab ordinance after a customer said she was raped by a driver.

    The Volusia County pedicab driver was arrested on charges of raping one of his customers, police said.

    Police said the incident happened shortly after the driver picked the woman up on Bayless Boulevard.

    The alleged victim told police she asked the suspect, identified as 28-year-old George Brainard, to take her west on International Speedway Boulevard. Police said Brainard told the woman he would not charge her for the ride if she gave him sex.

    Officers said when she said no, Brainard took her into the woods and forced her to have sex with him.

    Police said it was another pedicab driver, Nick Colavito, who came to the woman's aid after hearing her screams and seeing her crawling out of the woods.

    "The girl that this happened to was like crawling out of the woods with her pants half off with leaves all over her, hysterical crying, and I was like, 'Oh my God, what happened?'" said Colavito.

    Colavito said he saw Brainard giving the woman a ride earlier and thought it was suspicious she was in Brainard's cab for 30-45 minutes.

    "Usually, our cab rides are five minutes, so we're like, 'What the heck?'" said Colavito. "Maybe it was his girlfriend or something. We don't even know. We don't know what's going on."

     Brainard was charged with sexual battery.

    Pedicab drivers are licensed by the city, but officials are looking into changing the process in which they're hired.

    Chief Michael Chitwood wants more background checks on the drivers.

    "Like all of us, they hire from the human race and they should undergo the same rules and regulations that a taxi cab undergoes," Chitwood said.

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