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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | CENTRAL: WESTMINSTER

Man Who Beat Teenage Girl in Robbery Flees Across Freeway, Eludes Dragnet

September 17, 1998|HARRISON SHEPPARD

A man beat and apparently tried to rob a 14-year-old girl on her way to school Wednesday, then fled across the San Diego Freeway, snarling traffic and eluding police who were in pursuit with dogs and helicopters.

The incident began about 8:20 a.m. when a man jumped from bushes at Maple and Edwards streets and beat a girl in the head with an unidentified object, according to Police Lt. Bob Burnett.

With his other hand, the assailant searched the girl's pockets. She yelled, "Don't hurt me," according to Burnett. The assailant replied: "Shut up or I'll kill you."

A bystander chased away the man, who ran off empty-handed. The man stopped traffic trying to flag down a ride, according to witnesses.

Mark Hendrickson of Huntington Beach said he was heading north on the freeway when he saw a man in the middle of the freeway, among stopped cars. The man jumped into the back of Hendrickson's pickup.

"He said 'I need a ride, help me,' " Hendrickson said. "I knew there was something wrong. I didn't know if he was being beat up by someone, he was afraid, [or] he was in an accident."

When Hendrickson saw an officer waving at him from an overpass, he said he realized the man must be wanted. Hendrickson pulled over at the Westminster Boulevard exit. The man jumped out and ran toward a Motel 6, he said.

Westminster and CHP officers surrounded the area but were unable to find the girl's attacker.

"We did an extensive search of the area, and he must have gotten through our perimeter, and we lost him," Burnett said.

Hendrickson said the man left blood and fingerprints on the pickup, which investigators analyzed.

Police describe the assailant as white, 18 to 24 years old, about 5 foot 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, with blond hair. He was wearing a brown shirt and beige shorts.

The victim ran home after the attack and was later treated at Long Beach Memorial Hospital for cuts and other injuries to her head.

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