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wacocelt
08-22-2005, 14:01
On August the 20th I was attempting to hitch to Lee from Dalton Mass to stay with a friend for a few days of rest and relaxation. I recieved a ride which went very very wrong. I ended up being dragged along side a van then tumbling onto the pavement doing 20'ish miles an hour. My injuries include a large gash on my head requiring 9 staples and a gouge on the side of my right knee requiring 4 stitches. The person who was driving the van has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted kidnapping.

I am a 6' tall very athletic 30 something former military male who will be very cautious from now on and will no longer hitch alone. I'm not trying to scare anyone unecessarily, I just want to stress caution to anyone and everyone who may be hitching.

Hammock Hanger
08-22-2005, 14:16
On August the 20th I was attempting to hitch to Lee from Dalton Mass to stay with a friend for a few days of rest and relaxation. I recieved a ride which went very very wrong. I ended up being dragged along side a van then tumbling onto the pavement doing 20'ish miles an hour. My injuries include a large gash on my head requiring 9 staples and a gouge on the side of my right knee requiring 4 stitches. The person who was driving the van has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted kidnapping.

I am a 6' tall very athletic 30 something former military male who will be very cautious from now on and will no longer hitch alone. I'm not trying to scare anyone unecessarily, I just want to stress caution to anyone and everyone who may be hitching.
Can you give some more info on how and why the driver dragged you?? Was there an altercation?? Just trying to get a feel for what went wrong. That said I'm glad you are okay. Sue

wacocelt
08-22-2005, 14:38
Sorry HH, I wasn't trying to be cryptic, I'm somewhat ebarassed by the whole thing honestly. Anyway, here's the story.

I got a ride from a mid 50's fellow in a white van, after about 10 minutes he began suggesting we could 'spend a few hours together' before I met with my friends. He said quite a bit more as well, but nothing that needs repeating here. I politely declined his advances, but he continued, so I asked him to pull over and let me out, telling him I'de give him gas money for his troubles. We were at the intersection of 8 and 20, near Lee when I first tried to exit the vehicle, he quickly accelerated to prevent me from getting out. He began to apologize for making me nervous or for offending me. I turned to face him in my seat, prepared to make him stop if necessary, he finally relented and pulled over. When I got out I had my right hand on the handle of the passenger door, keeping it open while I opened the side door to get my pack. As soon as I reached inside he floored the gas pedal, and began to yell at me which yanked me off balance, pinning my left arm in the side door. I was dragged for a few seconds as he continued to accelerate, then got my feet under me for a brief monet, just enough to get my arm free. Unfortunately he had attained a fair amount of speed and I was slammed to the pavement then tumbled to a stop.
Some passing motorists stopped to render aid, as I was bleeding profusely from the head. While they were helping me the white van stopped across the road and the guy yelled that he had thrown my pack out a mile or so down the road, then he drove away again. Just before the police arrived one of the ladies helping pointed out the van parked about tenth of a mile away, so when the police arrived they quickly apprehended him.

All in all I'm a bit banged up, stitches, staples, pulled muscles and tendons and a mild concussion, but I'm in good spirits and will continue hiking when the staples are out.

Hammock Hanger
08-22-2005, 14:44
I am so sorry to hear your tale. Ya know as women we feel we are the only ones that need to worry about "that" kind of stuff.

Again I am glad that you were able to out of the vehicle but sorry you were hurt.

Thank you for sharing. Sue/HH

rickb
08-22-2005, 15:06
Hang in there.

Not that you are thinking about this right now (how could you help but be shaken up), if you are laid up for a while you might want to talk to a local attorney. Not only because you may be hard for the authorities to reach when you are back on the AT, but also to recover civil damages.

Keep in mind that anything you post here might make your advocates' job more difficult.

Sorry that this happened to you.

Rick B

kyhipo
08-22-2005, 16:28
I am sorry to hear that happened:( ,its the truth though some people find hikers easy targets for some peculiar reason .:-? ky

soulrebel
08-22-2005, 16:53
That is F Crazy!! I thought about ditching the wife's jogger fogger pepper spray in her kit, but now I'm thinking I might like a lil red eye action in my own setup...

and UL'er's it doubles as tabasco sauce--so it has potential..

TJ aka Teej
08-22-2005, 17:31
I hope your head heals quickly, WacoCelt. Thanks for telling your story here, it's an important reminder for everyone.

justusryans
08-22-2005, 18:45
Dude, sorry to hear that, You know hypothetically, you could go bail the guy out then "discuss" the error of his ways! hypothetically! Not that I'm condoning that kind of behavior mind you. :-?

Sly
08-22-2005, 18:55
Invite the dude to Trail Days! Good to hear you'll be OK, Chris.

Clark Fork
08-22-2005, 19:02
Bad... Great you have the courage to keep on trucking. A good attitude. Hope healing is on the way. So many depend on hitching, I hope that yahoo gets his due to the full extent of the law. Don't hesitate to ask for transportation help if you need to go back for the hearing. Those that don't live in the area can help in other ways. Just let us know. I sure would like to help somehow.

Perhaps we can come up with some ideas for the future:

Makes you think, you should write the license plate down before getting into car or truck. With digital cameras, not a bad idea to snap off a shot of the rear end of the car making sure you can read the plate.

Give your self time to conduct an interview before jumping in. Just pass the time, weather etc. No need to rush to jump in. Surprising what instincts will do.Trust your judgment.

If you hitch, tell someone you are going to hitch and where you are heading.

Always tell the driver you are going to meet someone. You most likely are or at least going to phone someone.

Yes, be assertive. If it isn't right ask, to be let off. Trail Journals are full of stories of Yahoos who think they are on the track when they take you to town or to the trail head.

Probably some other suggestions out there.

Good luck....

Clark Fork in Western Montana.

generoll
08-22-2005, 19:13
I doubt Waco needs any advice. It sounds as if he did everything right, just the luck of a bad draw. I used to hitch a lot in my younger days and invariably got picked up by some guy with romance on his mind whenver I was near a big city. Just lucky I guess that they all took no for an answer.

Sorry to hear about your bad experience and I'm glad that it didn't turn out any worse. Good luck and good health to you.

Gene

jigsaw
08-22-2005, 19:32
sorry to hear about this hope your doing o.k as a resident of lee and a father of two i hope the courts put this guy where he belongs .if you need any help getting back on the trail or to court let me know i'll do anything i can to help you out. jigsaw

saimyoji
08-22-2005, 20:26
Glad to hear your doin okay.

This guy is IMO a violent sexual predator and should be castrated, fed his genitals and electrocuted. Who knows what horrors he's done in the past or will do in the future.

Lone Wolf
08-22-2005, 21:20
I'm surprised you let the p***k live. His day will come. Glad you're somewhat OK.

Israel
08-22-2005, 21:42
wow- sorry to hear this story. As one who hitched a good bit back in the day when i was younger I have had a few very odd and unpleasant experiences. Somehow though nothing major like your event happened. I would probably think twice about hitching for a long haul again- too many chances for something bad to happen. I guess the shield of invincibility that I had as a youth has somewhat worn off!

Glad you are ok and nothing too serious happened!

DMA, 2000
08-23-2005, 00:07
Interesting. In California an automobile is not generally considered a deadly weapon.

Glad to hear you are ok. Sounds like you're lucky to be alive. Every time I hitch I can't help but have paranoid (but not unreasonable for all that) thoughts of such events happening, but I've been lucky...a few kooks not whithstanding.

Crazy Larry #1
08-23-2005, 06:08
i am truly glad you are here to tell us the story....is there any news accounts of this?

canoehead
08-23-2005, 08:26
as a local / ridgerunner i have hiked the state mass/conn many times and never had any thing close to this happen. glad you kept your head on and was able to do what needed to be done, and that passerbys were there to help.. i'ts nice to know hes off the street...if you pass this way again give a shout, i'll be happy to hike or shuttle with ya.

safe adventures
canoehead

icemanat95
08-23-2005, 08:29
Interesting. In California an automobile is not generally considered a deadly weapon.

Glad to hear you are ok. Sounds like you're lucky to be alive. Every time I hitch I can't help but have paranoid (but not unreasonable for all that) thoughts of such events happening, but I've been lucky...a few kooks not whithstanding.

Deadly weapon's statutes exist to fill the gap left by improvised weapons which are not detailed in other laws. If you pick up a scrap of angle iron for instance...it is not a deadly weapon in and of itself, but the second you pick it up and brandish it at another person, it becomes one. A motor vehicle is definitely a deadly weapon when used in the manner described. It is a way of upping the ante on a person who commits a crime by adding charges to their arrest record.

Kidnapping is a reach though...that's a scare tactic...they would have a real hard time proving that one to the legal definition and within precedents.

As far as suggestions about doing the guy bodily harm...why bother. When the guy hits prison he will be subjected to all manner of ill use by other inmates, no sense dirtying yourself on his account.

You did the right thing under the circumstances. Press charges, make the court dates and put the guy in the slammer.

Heater
08-23-2005, 08:37
Kidnapping is a reach though...that's a scare tactic...they would have a real hard time proving that one to the legal definition and within precedents.

If he did anything to prevent him from leaving the car and by holding him there against his will, that would be false imprisonment wouldn't it? :cool:

...or maybe I am just watching too many "crime shows" on TV. :rolleyes:

Tin Man
08-23-2005, 09:02
Wacocelt,

Wow! With all the foreign terrorists attacking our citizens it always amazes me when one citizen attacks another. I bet this guy waves a flag and denounces terrorists. If people like him only knew that when they stand in front of a mirror they were looking at a terrorist maybe they would think twice - then again there will always be twisted people lurking around. Sad.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to the trail.

One Thing
08-23-2005, 09:16
I was trying to find some info from the local newspaper and police department on this incident. I was unable to find anything. Could you give us a little more info on this. What police department took him in? I'm trying to find out if this guy was the same one involved in another incident.

Thanks

Goon
08-23-2005, 09:43
Sorry to hear this and glad you are ok!

We've met and you look like you can take care of yourself. Scary that he'd still try something.

wacocelt
08-23-2005, 10:27
I was trying to find some info from the local newspaper and police department on this incident. I was unable to find anything. Could you give us a little more info on this. What police department took him in? I'm trying to find out if this guy was the same one involved in another incident.

I'm trying to find some info myself, the Lee Police handled the case.

icemanat95
08-23-2005, 10:37
Hitchhiking is notoriously difficult in the Northeast, for good reason...we have been bombarded for many years with how dangerous it is to pick up hitchhikers to the point that it is taken as a matter of fact that your average hitchhiker is out to do you harm. I won't even consider picking up a hitcher unless I am within 5 miles of the AT corridor or in a trail town and the person is obviously a hiker...meaning I can smell them from inside my car, with the air conditioner running, from 100 yards away. Not really, but hikers can recognize hikers pretty easily.

So, when considering accepting a ride from someone, be aware that Northeasterners are paranoid on the subject and anyone willing to pick you up may be suspect themselves, so feel them out first before accepting the ride.

rickb
08-23-2005, 11:04
Which is why putting that criminal in jail may not be such a slam dunk.

Can't you just see an attorney spinning the story differently? 1) Hitchhiker turns agressive 2) Driver feels threatened 3) on exiting vehicle hitchiker reaches for something 4) Driver panics, hits gas 5) Driver returns to scene and ascertains hithiker is OK/Recieving help 6) Driver makes sure hitchiker knows where to pick up stuff 7) Driver waits 1/10 mile away while agressive hitchiker is getting back on his feet. 8) Driver is shocked to learn he is being arrested.

I have little doubt in Wacocelt's characterization, but I'm not the DA. I am just thinking that it makes sense for a victim of a crime to stay in close communication with the DA's office. Papers never get the story right anyway.

And perhaps also with an attorney who will see to the civil side of things. In a garden variety automible accident in MA (I know this isn't, but..) your medical bills have to reach a certain threshold before insurance will consider awards for pain and suffering, for example.

Rick B

Tin Man
08-23-2005, 13:31
And perhaps also with an attorney who will see to the civil side of things. In a garden variety automible accident in MA (I know this isn't, but..) your medical bills have to reach a certain threshold before insurance will consider awards for pain and suffering, for example.

Rick B

Good point. But what about the special pain and suffering caused by taking too many zero days?? There is the mental anguish of being off the trail as well as the physical pain with getting back your "trail legs". I say, stack the jury with hikers!

plodder
08-24-2005, 06:21
Hitchhiking is notoriously difficult in the Northeast, for good reason...we have been bombarded for many years with how dangerous it is to pick up hitchhikers to the point that it is taken as a matter of fact that your average hitchhiker is out to do you harm. I won't even consider picking up a hitcher unless I am within 5 miles of the AT corridor or in a trail town and the person is obviously a hiker...meaning I can smell them from inside my car, with the air conditioner running, from 100 yards away. Not really, but hikers can recognize hikers pretty easily.

So, when considering accepting a ride from someone, be aware that Northeasterners are paranoid on the subject and anyone willing to pick you up may be suspect themselves, so feel them out first before accepting the ride.
Wise words. I think this belongs in articles. If you have never had a ride you were glad to be away from, you are lucky. Be careful going off your route regardless of vibe. They may keep the fava beans at home. Don't wig if some guy offers you a "kiss," say no thanks I just need a ride. If it was a female you might take it as a compliment. Look the door and vehicle over before you get in. It has been my experience that the most harmless looking ones are the ones that have made my skin crawl.
Hope that picture I took of you at the sign came out, and that you heal well.

wacocelt
09-17-2005, 13:35
For anyone who is morbidly curious about this incident, I went to court September 14th and the defendant was scheduled for a pretrial hearing on October 6th. At that point they will decide if he's going to face a simple judge trial or whether to take it to a jury trial. Either way I have to return in anywhere from a month to a year for the formal trial.
I've decided to end yet another Thru Hike and head down to Biloxi Miss and help recover/rebuild for the cold season. Perhaps I'll give the PCT a shot in the spring, maybe even the Camino del Santiago, who knows...
I hope you're all well!

Puck

JLB
09-20-2005, 09:52
The moment he wouldn't stop the car, he would have been looking down the barrel of my gun.

hikerdude
09-20-2005, 11:32
You should be ashamed. All your doing is scaring the women. I can't say anymore.

Blue Jay
09-20-2005, 18:25
You should be ashamed. All your doing is scaring the women. I can't say anymore.

I thought that was the purpose of this thread. Scaring people is a popular thing these days.

icemanat95
09-20-2005, 18:58
The moment he wouldn't stop the car, he would have been looking down the barrel of my gun.


And then you would have run afoul of Massachusetts unforgiving gun laws. The Bartley-Fox act mandates a 2.5-10 year jail sentence for carrying a firearm illegally in Massachusetts. The other guy would get out of jail faster than you would, if he even went in in the first place.

Another reason that folks need to know the gun laws and get all the appropriate permits if they intend to carry along the AT. Good luck getting a non-residents permit in MA BTW.

Yeah, yeah, tried by twelve than carried by six and all that. But when the rubber meets the road, chances are, in this case, being carried by six wasn't likely, but if you pulled a gun on the guy, getting tried and convicted by twelve would have been VERY likely.

Toolshed
09-20-2005, 19:26
You should be ashamed. All your doing is scaring the women. I can't say anymore.
Yeah, I agree - Let's not warn anybody (especially women) of rude or evil folks out there, let's give them a nice comfy feeling that all is well and they need not take any precautions. Sheesh!!!! What a bizarre comment!!!

nerdishgrrl
09-21-2005, 15:52
You should be ashamed. All your doing is scaring the women. I can't say anymore.
I'm a woman. I'm not scared. I'm glad i'm informed, and i'll keep what happened in mind whenever I hitch.

Although I've never hitched alone....If i ever decide to, i'll keep this in mind.

Smile
09-21-2005, 16:23
IMO the first advice was the best: Choose to hitch with someone else, not alone, regardless of sex.

Thanks for sharing this incident with the rest of us, glad you are OK!

frieden
09-21-2005, 23:22
I'm glad you're ok. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it's not easy, and running the risk of personal attack to boot. I'm trying to plan my thru, with no hitching what-so-ever. It's just too scary in this country, even with a dog. Get well soon!

Frolicking Dinosaurs
09-22-2005, 05:51
Very grateful you are alive and able to tell the story.

Hikerdude, sometimes fear is a healthy sign that you are grounded in reality. Hitchhiking is an activity that should be approached with proper caution - just as motorcycling, rock climbing, caving, etc. There are considerations and skills that if learned and practiced can make all these activies much safer.

Deafsmart
09-23-2005, 19:00
Clarity note from desk of A.T.U.N.C.L.E. (Appalachian Trail United Network Command for Law Enforcement):

You should be ashamed. All your doing is scaring the women. I can't say anymore.
For my case it, also, apply to me. To across the street in perfect day in condition green, outlined in Michael Bane's Trail Safe: Averting Threatening Human Behavior in the Outdoors, (http://gorp.away.com/gorp/publishers/wildernesspress/trailsafe/trailsafe.htm) ones shall encounter unexpect dangers in flash that nobody would prepare in spilt-second. Even worse for those who are naive of threats around, known as Condition White

What kind of scare and for which category are you implying? It is not typical concern thread we all read in this site. What about me? I am thinking twice on hitch-hike alone; if I do, as I have now realize thurs far, I'd better have someone to hitch with me for towns or something down (or up) the roads.

Sections devoted on hitchiking and people in Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail by Roland Mueser (http://hikinghq.net/book_long_distance.html ) provide valid viewpoints and issues addressed by many veterans thru-hikers. Go to page 139-140 for Hitchhiking section; review and consider on People Problems with particular on Murder On The AT, page 133-135

Is that reason why we have collaborative platform like White Blaze.net, (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/) community of AT enthusiasts? Whether it is a place to find, learn, poll, share, thought-provoking discussion, or even criticism and viewpoint, anyone can contribute one or two or more voices unbiased. Always, as I must predict, either there shall be positive and negative, even in-the-mix, reactions. My mano-to-mano reply to yours, Bluejay and hikerdude, about scaring thing is for women only isn't true application to gender thing but think carefully before you say your remark(s); it also apply you, too. You know, if you say this offbeat commentary in person and {face slap}, :( may God help you.

I am glad wacocelt were able to share this incident with us, and best wish for your speedily recover. This could happen to me.

Crazy Larry #1
09-23-2005, 19:02
The moment he wouldn't stop the car, he would have been looking down the barrel of my gun.so you carry a gun when your hiking?

Lone Wolf
09-23-2005, 19:04
I've known many who carry.

wacocelt
09-23-2005, 20:25
Thanks to those of you who voiced your appreciation. My intent wasn't to scare anyone, but to share an experience which I was very lucky to have lived through. I have since and will continue to hitch to and from trailheads, if a bit more warily. Be well folks!

Blue Jay
09-24-2005, 22:00
My mano-to-mano reply to yours, Bluejay and hikerdude, about scaring thing is for women only isn't true application to gender thing but think carefully before you say your remark(s); it also apply you, too. You know, if you say this offbeat commentary in person and {face slap}, :( may God help you

Sorry, I only speak english.

dp the wonder dog
09-24-2005, 22:21
here is a site that's good for everybody to take time to look over.

it is neutral on guns -- it's more about situational awareness and how to avoid trouble in the first place.

www.nononsenseselfdefense.com

Ridge
09-25-2005, 09:16
My husband had asked me to ship his 9mm to him on the PCT because of several really bad run-ins he has had with non-thru-hikers. The ones he's had trouble with seemed to be high on something. He has never even considered a weapon and things must get really bad when he asks for his gun. He's also the x-marine that doesn't point a gun unless he's willing to use it. This all scares me and it makes me hesitant about hiking with my girlfriends here in the local mountains. It's hard enough doing the miles without having to worry about being attacked when you're dead tired.

Blue Jay
09-25-2005, 19:53
This all scares me and it makes me hesitant about hiking with my girlfriends here in the local mountains. It's hard enough doing the miles without having to worry about being attacked when you're dead tired.

You can be attacked anywhere. Statistically you are safer away from people.
Most attackers are lazy, they are not going to hike out in the woods when there are many more, richer, weaker and much better targets in town. Sooo many people like to scare women to keep them from living life to the fullest, don't let them.

Ridge
09-25-2005, 21:33
I agree about it being safer deep in the woods. It's the access areas, towns, road walks, hitching, etc that bother me. Maybe I should learn how to handle my Glock my husband got me. On second thought NOT.

wacocelt
09-25-2005, 23:43
Even with this incident occuring I'm more comfortable and feel more secure in the mountains near the trail than I do in my home town, or especially in my current environment. Look at it this way, what happened to me was like being struck by lightning while being attacked by a shark.

Crazy Larry #1
02-20-2006, 08:07
so whatever happened in this case waccocelt????

Chef2000
02-20-2006, 09:55
during my 2000 hike I was piocked up a dude who propositioned me for sex.
Since then I have not heard one story from a female who has had the same problem. I Think a single man hiking alone is in more danger than a woman hiking alone.

A woman hitching on the road side by herself will get aride much quicker, other woman will pick her up, not seeing her as a threat. In five years oh hiking and hitching I have only been picked up by a woman twice. Usually its a man or a couple that picks me up.

tiamalle
02-20-2006, 11:56
On August the 20th I was attempting to hitch to Lee from Dalton Mass to stay with a friend for a few days of rest and relaxation. I recieved a ride which went very very wrong. I ended up being dragged along side a van then tumbling onto the pavement doing 20'ish miles an hour. My injuries include a large gash on my head requiring 9 staples and a gouge on the side of my right knee requiring 4 stitches. The person who was driving the van has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted kidnapping.

I am a 6' tall very athletic 30 something former military male who will be very cautious from now on and will no longer hitch alone. I'm not trying to scare anyone unecessarily, I just want to stress caution to anyone and everyone who may be hitching.Wacocelt,was very sorry to hear about this.Please keep us updated on trial outcome with this freek,

Miss Janet
02-20-2006, 16:01
[QUOTE=Chef2000]during my 2000 hike I was piocked up a dude who propositioned me for sex."


I am guessing that this was the "DIDDLER" ??
The hands down funniest story I have ever heard!! The situation is serious and could have been dangerous so I don't want to make light of that fact. But, to hear Chef tell that story to a dozen hikers was the funniest AT hitching story ever. I have tried to tell it over the years but without Chef's accent it just doesn't work.

Tinker
02-20-2006, 16:10
When I was younger, I was picked up hitching several times by guys who wanted a little more than to give me a hand. It's an uncomfortable situation.

I began to understand how women feel in similar situations, victims of unwanted advances (by straight men).

I was never physically restrained, however, as you were.

There are some very, very sick people out there who need to spend a lifetime rethinking the choices they've made.

Violence is never the answer.

Get well soon, my friend.

AbeHikes
02-20-2006, 21:20
My Marine recruiter said it happened to him in PA, except he gave the ride and the hitcher made the offer as he was getting out. Said he was taken totally off-guard. He answered, "Uh, no thanks" as if he heard it every day. The guy shrugged and left.