EUGENE, Ore. -- A disturbing incident near North Eugene High School has students and parents on edge. A 14-year-old girl was approached by a stranger while walking home.
Eugene police said she was walking home Thursday afternoon, and less than a half mile from the high school, a man tried to give her a ride.
Here's a full list of safety tips from the Eugene Police Department:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
- Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact.
- Don’t let strangers into your space. Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
- Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
- If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 911.
- If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
- Use the buddy system when walking after dark. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
- Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves.
Officers said the man was stopped at a crosswalk near River Road and Silver Lane. They said he began questioning the student, asking if she needed a ride and where she lived. She crossed the street and was able to get to a safe area.
Police said the man is white with medium-length, light-brown hair and was wearing a baseball cap at the time. He had no facial hair. They also said he was driving an SUV or truck, with sparkling dark blue or green metallic paint.
"I think it's really scary," said Alexi, a junior at North Eugene High School. That's how most students KEZI 9 News spoke with responded after learning about the incident.
"There are a lot of girls that are a lot smaller," Alexi said. "That's scary to think if someone were to try to get you in the car, try to force you ... I couldn't do anything about it much."
She said she'll be using the buddy system the next time she walks home, which is exactly what police want you to do.