Jogger stays smart, aware

Morgan Day

After being followed for about 30 minutes by a suspicious man in a vehicle, a jogging Kent State student took the right steps to ensure her safety Monday, said Lt. Robert Nation.

“She had the smarts to flag down a passerby, use their cell phone and get a hold of area police,” he said.

The student, who was jogging alone through campus, called 911 at about 10:50 a.m. She told the Kent State Police Department she thought a man was following her and might be masturbating in his vehicle, Nation said.

“Thank goodness she was paying attention to her surroundings,” he said, adding that she could’ve been jogging alone at night, making the situation more difficult.

Nation said the student acted properly in the situation by flagging down a passerby. Other alternatives, he said, would be to seek out a group of people or an emergency blue light phone.

The student was later taken to the Kent State Police Department for questioning but fainted while there.

“It was such a dramatic thing for her that she became ill and needed medically treated,” he said.

The suspect, William K. Patterson, 38, of Cleveland Heights, was driving a 2000 gold Honda Element, which was found a short time later in the Harbourt Hall parking lot. Patterson fled after police approached the vehicle, leading police on a pursuit from Loop Road to state Route 59 toward Ravenna.

Police called off the chase because of safety concerns after speeds reached more than 75 miles per hour. However, the vehicle was spotted later on state Route 44, and Patterson surrendered to police, Nation said.

Patterson was arrested by Kent State police and charged with one count of fleeing and eluding, a third degree felony. He was released on bond Tuesday and awaits trial, Nation said.

Contact safety reporter Morgan Day at [email protected].