Man charged with assaulting woman in state park

Nov. 4, 2016: A woman is sharing her story on social media after she says a man assaulted her while she was out running alone.

HAMBLEN COUNTY - A 25-year-old man faces assault and sexual battery charges after officials say he hit and grabbed a woman while she was running on a trail at Panther Creek State Park in Morristown this week.

Raymundo Velazquez, of Talbott, is charged with aggravated assault, sexual battery, robbery and felony evading.

According to an affidavit filed in Hamblen County General Sessions Court, Velazquez hit a woman in the face, grabbed her and choked her around the neck. He also took her cell phone, and drove away when park rangers tried to stop him from leaving the park, the affidavit said.

The woman, Rachel Winstead, spoke to WBIR 10News Friday. She said she was running in the park on Wednesday when a man came up beside her and punched her.

“You assume that you know exactly what you would do, or what the right thing is to do in a situation like that, but it’s not quite so simple,” Winstead said.

She said she tried to take a picture of him on her cell phone, but he took it from her.

“To not be able to breathe, and to have the one defense that was on my side taken away was very scary,” she said. “All that I could think to do was to be as loud as I possibly could, and as inconvenient to attack as I could possibly be.”

Winstead wrote about the incident on Facebook, saying “I have never in my life been so afraid.”

Velazquez was arrested Thursday and made his first court appearance Friday morning. His bond is set at $100,000.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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