Police: Woman fights off attacker on Eugene bike path

A woman fought off an attacker while walking along the East Bank Bike Path in Eugene, police said on July 15, 2018. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene Police Department reports a woman had to fight off an attacker on a Eugene bike path Saturday night.

According to the report, a woman was walking south on the East Bank Bike Path behind Keifer’s Mazda at 11:06 p.m. when she passed a man heading north who greeted her.

A short time later, police say she prudently looked over her shoulder to find the man catching back up to her quickly.

The woman was on alert and had already pulled her pepper spray out.

The suspect again started talking to the woman, but then pushed her to the ground, causing abrasions, police say. The woman started screaming and the suspect put his hand over her mouth and threatened to kill her.

The woman sprayed the suspect with pepper spray and continued to scream while the suspect ran off.

EPD Patrol and Lane County Sheriff’s Office K9 responded with an extensive search but were unable to locate the suspect, authorities said.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 60s, 5’5”, 140-150 pounds, with shoulder length wavy or curly hair.

If anyone has suspect information, call the non-emergency line at (541) 682-5111.

Police say suspect descriptions and other information may be updated at a later time.

"The woman in this case is to be commended for her handling of the attack, from fighting back to calling 911 and helping to provide suspect descriptions," EPD said.

They passed along some general safety tips.

GENERAL PERSONAL SAFETY TIPS

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
  • Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
  • Don’t let strangers into your ‘space.’ Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
  • Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
  • If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 9-1-1
  • If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
  • Use the buddy system when walking after dark or in ‘fringe’ areas, which are places there are fewer people travelling, allowing them a chance to victimize you without chancing witnesses. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
  • Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves
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