A 42-year-old Michigan man is being held on $35,000 bail after he was accused of kidnapping and attacking a woman before she escaped with help from a passing motorist.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning when Larry R. Bell of Jackson, Mich., left the Lighthouse bar on Treiman Boulevard with a 52-year-old woman after closing time, Hernando sheriff's spokesman Lt. Joseph Paez said.
At the intersection of Dogwood and Cardinal drives, Bell allegedly pushed the woman to the ground and climbed on top of her, the sheriff's report stated. As he stood over her, Bell allegedly told the woman that he would not hurt her if she complied.
As the woman resisted, Bell removed some of her clothing, choked her, slapped her and sexually assaulted her, the report said.
During the attack, the woman managed to get to her feet as a car drove through the intersection. Bell then ordered the victim to walk from the side of the road deeper into the wooded area, the report said.
When she resisted, Bell grabbed a handful of her hair and dragged her into the woods. Meanwhile, as a vehicle approached the intersection, the woman was able to free herself and run into the street, where she flagged down the vehicle and asked for help.
The motorist told authorities that she saw Bell standing over the woman. She turned the car around and stopped as the victim, who had bruises on her body, ran into the street, the report stated.
Deputies found Bell walking in the vicinity of the attack. The woman, whose name is being withheld by authorities because of the nature of the allegations, identified Bell and provided specifics on him, such as his criminal history and the number of children he has.
Bell, who is unemployed, was taken into custody after questioning at the Sheriff's Office and charged with sexual battery and kidnapping _ felonies, punishable by up to life in prison.
A background check revealed that Bell was convicted of first-degree sexual conduct in Jackson County, Mich., in February 1980, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.