By Joe Johnson
A University of Georgia student reported that she escaped an apparent attempted kidnapping Saturday night near downtown Athens.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, the student said she was walking to her home on North Avenue from downtown at about 9:30 p.m. when she stopped to see a friend on East Dougherty Street.
When the student found out her friend was at work, she made a brief phone call to her roommate to advise she was on the way home, according to the report.
The student said she began to call or text someone else in the area of East Dougherty and Foundry streets when she heard the sound of sliding door being opened.
“She stated that at this time she saw a white work van in her peripheral vision, but she was not really paying attention because she was looking down at her phone,” according to the report. “(The student) then stated that from behind her an unknown individual wrapped their arm around her neck to grab her” as the van was still moving at a slow pace, with another person apparently driving the vehicle.
The student said she then grabbed a can of mace from her purse and sprayed it behind her head, toward the suspect, the report noted.
“She advised at that moment she didn’t hear anything else and she took off running toward Strong Street,” and at 9:49 p.m. she called her roommate, who picked her up by The Standard on North Thomas Street, according to the report.
The student could only describe the van as having a passenger-side window that was painted white and the person who grabbed her wore a long-sleeve black shirt, according to the report.
She said the person’s arm appeared to be small and assumed they were not a big person because “I’m not a big girl, I shouldn’t have been able to get away so easily,” according to the police report.