Police were investigating what they called a stranger assault after a man pulled a woman from a street onto a Columbus bike path and assaulted her early Tuesday morning.
A woman told police that she was attacked while walking along West Fifth Avenue, heading toward Olentangy River Road, at about 5:30 a.m.
The 46-year-old woman told police that she was assaulted by the man who approached her on a bike. He allegedly punched her several times and dragged her onto the bike path.
She told police that he then tried to rip her clothes off. She was able to fight the man off and get away and was taken to a hospital.
People using the trail were encouraged to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity.
"I mean, it's not the first time it's happened. So I mean, it's not a huge surprise or shock to anybody but, it's early, not always the best time to be out, especially now at 5:30 a.m. It's going to be dark still, with daylight hours coming down. It's just a shame," said Ohio State University student Eric Ahruns.
Columbus resident Debi Harris said that you never know what is going to happen.
"You just never know if someone is going to pick up a stick and throw it in your wheel or knock you over your head, or whatever, or knock you off your bike. And that goes for men, as well, you don't know what's going to happen with all the trees around you and everything," Harris said.
Police said that the woman told them he was about 36 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, had a short, military haircut and had a scar on his forehead. The man was of medium build.
While detectives said they are searching for the man, they said it is an isolated incident that is not connected to any other recent scares on the trail.
"You could have a fantastic police presence, but they can't be everywhere so, to some degree, people have to be alert," said resident Steve King.
Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the area of West Fifth Avenue and Olentangy Road, around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and saw a black man who was around 36 years old and stood 5 feet 7 inches. He had a medium build, a short military style haircut, as well as a scar on the forehead. The man was riding a bike.
Anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen something in connection with the assault is asked to call the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4545.
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