Canal Trail Attacker Caught

A surgeon visiting New Haven happened upon an attack while jogging on the Farmington Canal Trail—and helped cops catch the attacker.

The episode occurred at dusk Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s what happened, according to top Newhallville cop Lt. Kenneth Blanchard:

A 30-year-old Yale Law School fellow was riding her bicycle home along the Canal Trail, where attacks have occurred periodically on pedestrians and cyclists.

A man with a history of sexual assault approached the woman on the bike near Ivy Street between Shelton and Dixwell, and made a “sexual” remark to her.

She was fearful. She got off her bike and tried to back away.

He grabbed the bike and tried to ride off. But he wasn’t able to ride the bike properly. He got off and “body-slammed” the woman. She fell to the ground and hit her head.

Just then the jogger was coming by. The jogger is a 67-year-old chief of surgery at the State University of New York in Stonybrook, Long Island; he was in town to present a paper at Yale School of Medicine. He had seen the attacker earlier while on his jog; he had reversed direction when he saw the attack. He yelled for help. The attacker fled.

The police got a 911 call. By coincidence, Blanchard was nearby along with Officer Ryan Przybylski and a rookie cop in training; the trio was looking for people with outstanding warrants. They rushed to the scene of the attack on the trail, arriving in less than a minute, according to Blanchard.

Blanchard helped the woman while the two officers followed after the attacker. They found him blocks away.

“I didn’t mean to do it. Tell her I’m sorry,” the man told the officers, before they brought up the subject of the attack.

He also said: “I knocked her off the bike. That’s all I did.”

The police concluded that he had also tried to steal the bike and had attacked her. They charged him with attempted robbery, attempted larceny, and assault. The woman was treated for a mild concussion and an abrasion to her arm.

The arrestee, who was born in 1984, has pending cases involving unrelated sexual assault, assault, violation of probation, interfering, and breach of peace charges stemming from four other cases. He has pleaded guilty to most, though not all, of those charges, according to the state’s judicial website.

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posted by: TheMadcap on November 7, 2013  6:41pm

It’s cool they arrested someone for doing this kind of stuff on the canal trail, and arrested almost immediately, but it’s sad in these cooler months when there’s not much traffic on the trail I automatically take Dixwell instead if alone now that they put in bike lanes to avoid things specifically like this.

Speaking of arrests, does the NHI or anyone have any idea of what was happening near the West Haven border around around 4pm-ish on Wednesday? I was riding back into New Haven from WH, and was at the corner of the Boulevard and the Post Road/Columbus ave when at least 5 cop cars came screaming down and took the turn onto the Post Road.

posted by: not so sure about it on November 8, 2013  8:35am

So happy she is okay.  There is very limited lighting on the trail because it is CLOSED after dusk.  This gives these creeps an opportunity to hurt others.  Let’s all stay safe and stay on lit streets after dusk.