Massachusetts jogger details how she escaped terrifying abduction attempt
iStock/Thinkstock(BRIDGEWATER, Mass.) — A Massachusetts woman is opening up about how she managed to fight off a convicted rapist who attacked her over the weekend and tried to force her into his car.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, spoke out Wednesday in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, offering exclusive details on how she mustered up the strength to fight off the man who assaulted her early Sunday morning.
The terrifying ordeal unfolded while she was out for a routine jog at around 7:30 a.m. Sunday in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, about 33 miles south of Boston, when a man pulled his SUV over, ran toward her and tried to drag her into his vehicle.
A surveillance camera captured the terrifying ordeal on video as the 37-year-old woman kicked and screamed as she tried to escape from the attacker’s grip.
“I was able to fight and kind of flip him to the ground,” the woman said, but she fell to the ground, as well. “I don’t wanna go into too many details because some of it is tough for me to talk about, but he was grabbing at me.”
“I just kept kicking back behind me. I was not even sure if I was making contact with him,” she added.
Afraid for her life, she said she screamed “Help me” repeatedly and as loud as she could, knowing that the situation could end badly if the attacker got a better grip on her.
“I was just trying to prevent him from getting a further hold of me and getting to a point where he could either assault me or pick me up and get me into the vehicle,” she said. “I knew if that happened, I was in a really bad place.”
She managed to break away when the assailant stumbled a bit, fell to the ground and ran back to his car, according to the surveillance video.
Police arrested 57-year-old Gordon Lyons, a convicted rapist, in connection with the attack after he allegedly fled at high speed and crashed his vehicle.
The woman said she’s thankful to be alive. Her attack recalls other high-profile assaults in recent years.
A similar story unfolded in Queens, New York, on Aug. 2, 2016, when 30-year-old Karina Vetrano was fatally strangled while jogging alone with her dog. Chanel Lewis, 20, was arrested in February for second-degree murder, a little over six months after Vetrano’s death.
Another woman, Vanessa Marcotte, 27, was murdered less than a week later while jogging near her mother’s home in Leominster, Massachusetts. Police charged Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, with assault with intent to rape and aggravated assault and battery in connection to her case, citing DNA from under her nails and witness accounts, according to local reports. Colon-Ortiz pleaded not guilty.
Officials with the Bridgewater Police Department commended the woman from Sunday’s video for refusing to be a victim.
“She also had the presence of mind to take a picture to help law enforcement catch the perpetrator,” a spokesperson for the department told Good Morning America.
The woman, who described herself as an avid runner, said she was afraid the entire time, but she would not let her fear paralyze her.
“I’m not gonna say I wasn’t afraid,” she said. “But it was kind of a moment of, yeah, some fear, but also this — I’m not gonna let this happen. This is not how my story ends.”
She praised the police department and her “hero” neighbor, 84-year-old Donald Prohovich, who yelled at the attacker and intervened when he realized what was happening.
“I cannot tell you how grateful I am. That is a brave man and a man that cared,” the woman said.
Lyons, the man accused in the attack, was charged on Tuesday in court, where he attempted to hide his face with a sheet. He pleaded not guilty.
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