Reidsville woman assaulted while trying to help phony stranded driver

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- A woman was attacked on the side of the road in Rockingham County by a man she was trying to help, according to the sheriff's office.

FOX8 talked to the man who found her and called 911, Jonathon Bowen, who is was in the right place at the right time.

"I'd seen a car on the side of the road, lights on -- no, hazard lights," he said, recalling the experience.

Bowen was driving home to Reidsville, with his 2-year-old son in the car, early Saturday morning.

"I did see something in the ditch, kind of waving," he said.

So Bowen turned around on N.C. 14 near Morehead Street, thinking a driver hit a deer and was signaling for help.

"And that's when I saw her waving her arm," he said.

Instead, Bowen found an assault victim, a 33-year-old Reidsville woman. He pulled over, called 911, and waited until sheriff's deputies arrived.

"I heard moaning, and I could hear 'Help,' and I could hear, 'I can't see,'" Bowen said. "And of course, I want to help, but I'm also going to be protective of myself and my family."

EMS took the victim to the hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries and released.

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page says Bowen made the right call in this situation by keeping his distance.

"If you feel like you need to stop, stop, but don't get out of your vehicle," Page said. "You can always crack your window. Stopping and getting out of your vehicle can put you at a disadvantage and put you in a dangerous situations, just like we saw here."

Page says the woman stopped on the side of N.C. 14, because she saw a parked car with its flashers on. She thought she recognized it, so she stopped to help.

That's when Page says the phony stranded driver attacked her right on the side of the road. She put up a fight and got away. The suspect then hopped in his car and drove off.

"I don't think I recall really ever seeing a situation like this occur before," Page said.

He says he understands why the victim would want to stop and help, but unless you know for sure who you're dealing with on the side of the road, he says it's best to call 911 and stay inside the car.

"Don't put yourself in danger," Page said.

"If you're unsure of the situation, let the police handle their end of the deal, they'll handle it," Bowen said. "They're more protected than we are. If you're unarmed, and they are, you're out of luck."

Page says the only real chance they have of finding the suspect is if someone in the area saw what happened and comes forward.

Deputies are looking for an older model dark blue four-door car that had its four-way flashers on the side of N.C. 14 around 12:45 a.m. on Saturday.

If you have any information, you can call the sheriff's office or report anonymously through CrimeStoppers.