OKC Police Investigate Jogger Assaults24-Jun-2016
Oklahoma City police are urging women out walking and jogging alone to be vigilant after three women were assaulted or threatened in two incidents.
In the first incident, two women were jogging together when a white van began driving slowly behind them. The women say the van first stopped, then quickly accelerated and struck them, knocking them down. The women were bruised, but not seriously injured. One of them told police she actually yelled at the driver, described as a white male in his 30s with brown hair and medium weight, asking him, "What are you doing?" before he quickly drove away.
The women say they do not know the man's motive for striking them, but officers asked if they thought he might have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the "accident." However, within a few hours another woman reported an incident with a van matching the description of the one that struck them, making the act seem intentional rather than accidental.
Police say that the second incident occurred when a woman was walking her dog The woman says a van approached her and the driver asked for directions. She said she gave him directions, but rather than driving away, the van continued to follow her. The driver then pulled a gun and demanded that the woman get into his vehicle. Instead, she ran to a nearby house for help.
Police say the van involved in both incidents is described as an older model white Dodge minivan with a ladder rack and a "Carrier Express" logo.
The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) offers the following safety tips for runners and joggers:
- DON’T WEAR HEADPHONES. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs.
- Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
- Look both ways before crossing. Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle. Obey traffic signals.
- Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information.
- Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
- Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of public phones along your regular route.
- Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t.
- Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located in case of emergency.
- Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
- Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
- Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
- Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
- Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Avoid running on the street when it is dark.
- Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
- Carry a noisemaker. Get training in self-defense.
- When using multi-use trails, follow the rules of the road. If you alter your direction, look over your should before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.
- CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately
Anyone with information in the Oklahoma City incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 405-235-7300.
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