RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - A masked man approached a teen, demanding her to take off her clothes. Police said it happened in Russellville Wednesday just before 4 p.m. They called it a scary situation that could have been a lot worse if not for complete strangers stepping in to help.
"She dropped her bag and turned and ran, and that is when I took action and just took after him and chased him off just to get the two separated from each other," explained a Russellville man who did not want to be identified.
He witnessed the unthinkable right outside his home-a masked man, approaching a 14-year-old girl walking along the D&R railroad tracks.
"It's a situation where we don't know what would have happened if the witnesses didn't get involved," said Officer Drew Latch with Russellville Police.
Officer Latch said the masked man turned out to be 22-year-old Travis Spearman, and when witnesses watched him approach the teen, they stepped in.
"He had instructed her to take off her clothes, which she then took off running. At that time, we had several Samaritans that were in the area that were witnesses at the beginning who then got involved," said Officer Latch.
"The guy was showing some odd behavior, and I kept an eye on him because I knew he didn't belong in our area," said the witness.
The witness, along with several others, chased Spearman away but pointed his truck out to police. Officers tracked him down and after lengthy questioning, arrested him. He's being held at Pope County Jail and was charged with attempted rape and filing a false police report for claiming someone stole his truck. It's an outcome authorities said would have been a lot worse if not for a few good men.
"That's what we do. We take care of each other. You look out for one another's kids. If it was my daughter, I would have prayed that someone had been looking out for her," said the witness.
Spearmen is expected in court Friday where a judge will set his bond. Officer Latch said the girl did exactly what she should have, yelled for help and ran. He urged parents to be extra cautious about letting kids out alone. It's best to have a friend go along with them or go with a group.