Woman grabbed under section of Seattle bike trail with no street lights

Broken street lamps have left this trail in darkness. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- The street lights haven't worked for months under a section of the West Seattle Bridge, plunging a bike trail along Southwest Spokane Street into inky blackness.

So Jackie Harris took precautions as she cycled through the area Thursday night.

"So I made sure my light was on and everything," she recalled. "I'm riding slow but not too slow because it's not well lit."

Just as the trail veers from the road and becomes more isolated, a man stepped out.

"I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him, and when I did that, he came around to my left side and was grabbing at my shoulder."

She manged to duck and slip his grasp. She frantically pedaled home and called police.

Seattle police say the area near East Marginal Way is a trouble spot and that officers are making adjustments.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb explains: "We're concerned enough that we're going to be deploying some added resources to this area."

Seattle City Light say 16 overhead street lamps haven't worked since December. A thief stripped out copper wiring, but repairs have been delayed because of safety concerns with the extensive homeless encampments in the area.

"It's always been one, maybe two tents," Jackie Harris says. "And I've never had any problems down there ... and then it's just gotten really spooky down there recently."

Police don't know if the man who grabbed her was living there or was just passing through.

But the city plans to clear the encampment next week, so the streets lamps can be repaired.

"At the very least some light would go a long way to making me feel a lot safer in that area," Harris said.


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