Massachusetts jogger details how she escaped terrifying abduction attempt

first_imgiStock/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. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

10 Must-Do Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

first_img[divider]more from[/divider] Within a day’s drive of 2/3 of the U.S. population lies 520,000 acres of some of the oldest mountains in the world. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), the largest national park east of the Rocky Mountains, hosts 9-10 million visitors annually, making it the most visited park in the nation. This iconic park was founded in 1934, and is one of the few national parks to offer free admission year round.Every year people flock to the GSMNP to camp, hike, ride horses, fly fish, gaze at waterfalls and wildflowers, search for wildlife, and enjoy other outdoor activities. In the spring, synchronized fireflies draw crowds, and in the fall countless visitors enjoy an annual explosion of fall leaf colors.Planning a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Check out one of these must-do hiking trails.1. Andrews BaldStarting in the parking lot for Clingman’s Dome, this 3.5 mile roundtrip hike takes you to the highest bald in the park. Expect outstanding views and one of the most unique environments in the park.Andrews_Bald_with_Sign2. Chasteen Creek Cascades HikeA family friendly hike, the Chasteen Creek Cascades hike is a 3.5-mile roundtrip hike that leads to a 30 foot waterfall. The trailhead is located in the back of the parking lot for the Smokemont Campground.3. Kephart Prong HikeThis hike takes you through an old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) campground on its way to the Kephart Shelter. The hike is 4.2 miles roundtrip and the trail head is located on Newfound Gap Road, 7.3 miles north of the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center.4. Rich Mountain LoopOn this rather strenuous 8.5-mile roundtrip hike you’ll get the chance to see amazing wildflowers and one of the oldest buildings in the park—a cabin that dates from the 1820’s. Just before reaching the one way section of the Cades Cove Loop trail, park in a large lot on the left and find the trailhead roughly 25 feet past the gate on the right side of the road.5. Ramsey CascadesThis 8 mile round-trip hike takes you to Ramsey Cascades, the tallest falls in the park. Water falls roughly 100 feet over cascades and rocks, and salamanders can often be found here. Drive 6 miles east bound on 321 out of Gatlinburg, turn right into Greenbrier and drive 3.1 miles until the road forks, then turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead.9620482700_7043dd0bf6_k6. Mount LeConteOne of the most iconic trails in the park, the hike to Mount Leconte is a strenuous 11 mile roundtrip hike. Known for its views of the park, LeConte also has a lodge where hikers can reserve rustic cabins. Drive 8.7 miles south on Newfound Gap Road from the Sugarlands Visitor’s Center to the parking lot on the left. Arrive early during peak seasons to find a parking spot.10785215995_cb3107b26b_k7. Metcalf Bottoms TrailA great option for young kids, this easy, short hike takes you to an old log cabin school house. Turn onto Little River Rd from Sugarlands Visitor Center and drive 6 miles to the parking lot on the right.8. Charlie’s BunionAn 8.1 mile roundtrip hike, Charlie’s Bunion offers amazing panoramic views of the park and a large variety of wildflowers. The trailhead is located in the Newfound Gap parking lot.9. Deep Creek LoopLocated just north of Bryson City, NC, this family friendly 4.6 mile roundtrip hike was one of the first trails built by the CCC. Follow Deep Creek up a well kept trail and enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna.Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_National_Park_from_Gatlinburg,_Tennessee10. Cove MountainOne of only 4 fire towers left in the park, the Cove Mountain fire tower is reached by way of the Laurel Falls Trail. The tower is used an air quality monitoring station, so hikers are not permitted to climb it but the hike is pleasant. Drive 3.8 miles from Sugarland Visitors Center to the top of Fighting Creek Gap where the parking lot for Laurel Falls Trail will be on your right.If you decide to check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year, be advised that dogs are only allowed to travel through the park on roads. If you have the family pooch with you make arrangements for them if you plan to hike.[divider]About the Author[/divider]Annebell Plush-Cheoah-Kokotat-6Annabell Plush is the Operations Manager at Green River Adventures in Saluda, NC, the mother of an amazing dog named Pigeon, and an aspiring writer. She loves to garden, ride her mountain bike, kayak, and have dance parties. You can follow along for the ride at her blog.last_img read more