RCMP west of Edmonton are warning drivers not to stop for stranded motorists after a teen was assaulted when she stopped to help someone late last week.
At around 9:30 p.m. Friday, a 17-year-old girl was driving on Parkland Drive in Parkland County — west of Stony Plain — and had turned onto Range Road 20 when she noticed a truck parked on the side of the road.
The truck’s lights were flashing, and a man was standing in the middle of the road, trying to flag someone down for help, the RCMP said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
The teen pulled over and got out of her vehicle to help the man. Police said the man grabbed the girl by the shoulders. He then punched the girl in the face several times, causing her to fall to the ground, RCMP said.
As this was happening, another vehicle turned onto the range road. The man then got back in his vehicle and drove off, police said. The other vehicle did not stop.
“The youth was left laying on the ground as the other vehicle drove by,” RCMP said.
Const. Shelley Nasheim with Stony Plain RCMP said the girl suffered a laceration to her cheek and was absolutely distraught.
“She was absolutely traumatized and devastated that that happened to her… but she is OK,” Nasheim said.
“I do believe that she was in shock somewhat, that someone would attack her in this way, especially when she had such good intentions.”
Officers believe the man was attempting to steal the girl’s vehicle.
Police are now searching for a suspect, who is described as taller than six feet with stubble on his face and a large nose that was red in colour. He was wearing a black jacket at the time.
The vehicle is described as a black or dark-coloured long-box truck.
RCMP are urging motorists not to stop for drivers who appear to be stranded on the side of the road. Instead, drivers are encouraged to pull over in a safe place, ensure their doors are locked and call police.
“It’s so unfortunate that it’s come to that point in our society where we aren’t able to trust people, but you have to take care of yourself first,” Nasheim said. “A rural location, a location where there’s not a lot of traffic, you have to be careful.
“Her case was difficult. This person was in the middle of the road waving at her. She may have felt it was difficult to get around him.”
Earlier this month, police in Edmonton issued a public warning about an “armed and dangerous” suspect after a carjacking in the city’s southwest. Nasheim said it’s too early to say if the two cases are linked.
“It’s still under investigation. We haven’t been able to find any links yet but we’re definitely looking at all possibilities.”
Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact the Stony Plain RCMP detachment at 780-968-7267. Anonymous information can be submitted via Crime Stoppers online or at 1-800-222-8477.