A Sonoma County woman was persuaded to pull her car to the side of the road by a male driver who then attacked her on a rural lane west of Sebastopol at 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
In the latest in a series of incidents in which lone female drivers have been attacked, pursued or threatened on darkened Sonoma County roads, the man wedged himself in the woman?s door and grabbed her neck, the Sonoma County Sheriff?s Department said.
He threatened to hurt her if she resisted, authorities said.
But the 46-year-old victim foiled the late-night attack by kicking and shoving him off of her, then throwing her car into gear and speeding away with the door open, Sheriff?s Sgt. Dave Thompson said.
?This guy is pretty good at what he does, so he?ll be hard to catch,? said Thompson, who heads the sheriff?s sex crimes investigations unit. ?But we?ll get him.?
The suspect, who was driving a dark, four-door sedan, was described as an adult male with a medium complexion and dark hair. He was about 5-feet-6 with a stocky build, wearing a black windbreaker, dark pants and a dark-colored knit beanie cap. He spoke without a discernible accent.
Investigators aren?t certain if one or more men are responsible for a series of at least five such episodes on county roads since November. There are clear similarities, however.
One young woman was sexually attacked on Bennett Valley Road on Nov. 18 after a man flashed his headlights, persuaded her to stop and said a motorcycle had crashed.
Another young woman pulled over Dec. 4 on the same stretch of road but sped off when a man in a ski mask and hooded sweat shirt approached.
Between Jan. 6 and Feb. 12, there were three additional incidents in the area of Calistoga and Porter Creek roads.
In one instance, a man jumped from a hillside and lay down in the roadway.
In another, a man with a masked face and a hoodie flashed his lights and pulled up alongside a woman numerous times before she finally sped away and lost him.
In another, the man said there?d been a motorcycle crash, then tried to pull her window open, Thompson said.
Whether the same individual is responsible or not, ?we have a similar M.O., so that?s concerning,? Thompson said Saturday.
?The main thing is that people just should not stop out on the road for anybody unless they have red lights and sirens,? Thompson said. ?Really. It?s too dangerous.
The woman in Saturday?s attack said she had just turned off westbound Bodega Highway and onto Sexton Road when she noticed someone following her and flashing his high beams.
The driver then pulled alongside her and yelled that she had a problem with her car. He then continued following and flashing his lights, authorities said.
When she stopped near West Sexton Road, the man told her she had a leak at the back of her car. She got out to inspect it, and finding nothing wrong, was getting back into her car when he wedged himself into the doorway to keep her from closing it, Thompson said.
He then grabbed her leg and attempted to pull her out, finally grabbing her neck before she was able to fend him off, turning her body and pushing him away while she sped off, Thompson said.