Rape victim’s attempt to flee car alerts officer

Suspect leads police on chase

MOSS POINT

The victim of a weekend rape was attempting to get away from her alleged attacker, opening and closing a passenger door on a moving vehicle, when a Moss Point police officer noticed the awkward action and attempted to stop the car, ultimately leading to an arrest in the case, Moss Point Police Chief Sheila Smallman said.

The suspect, a 38-year-old Moss Point man, was arrested on a rape charge and jailed late Sunday night pending a bond hearing. The Sun Herald does not identify victims of sex crimes or suspects unless they have been charged with more than one felony.

An officer tried to stop the suspect’s white sports utility vehicle on Richards Street shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday after noticing a passenger door on the SUV kept opening and closing, though the driver never tried to apply the brakes, Smallman said. Once the officer turned on his blue lights and sirens, Smallman said the suspect took off. After a chase, the suspect stopped on Grace Street, jumped out of the vehicle and fled. The officer, Smallman said, chased the suspect and deployed a Taser to make the arrest.

Police learned of the alleged rape, Smallman said, after another officer on the scene interviewed the passenger in the SUV, a 41-year-old woman, who told police she’d been sexually assaulted at a location on Orange Grove Road. She given a rape examination and treatment at Singing River Hospital.

The investigation was continuing Tuesday.

By MARGARET BAKER – mbbaker@sunherald.com

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