Uber driver had to pepper spray her passenger, Coast cops say. Now he faces charges.

An Uber driver with a drunk passenger in the back seat suddenly found herself blinded early Saturday morning as she drove west on U.S. 90, she reported to Ocean Springs police.

The driver, who was not identified, told police that a male passenger reached from the back seat and put his hands over her mouth and eyes while the vehicle was moving.

The man released her when she pulled onto the highway shoulder and pepper sprayed him, said Detective Capt. William Jackson of the Ocean Springs Police Department.

Police charged William Richard Jerde Jr., 36, of D’Iberville with public drunk and simple assault, both misdemeanors, Jackson said. The driver had picked up Jerde outside Kahuna-OS, a bar and grill on U.S. 90, Jackson said.

Jackson said he does not recall another case of a ride-sharing driver being assaulted by a passenger. Harrison County and Biloxi law enforcement officials said their agencies had not had any issues with ride-sharing passengers, either.

Nationally, Uber has been in the news over some of its drivers allegedly assaulting passengers.