News

Victim of trail attack says she's not intimidated

Crystal Stokes says she only jogs about once a month, making it all the more unlikely that the 27-year-old Mountain View resident would have to fight off an attack in the middle of the day.

But that's exactly what happened on Sunday, Nov. 29, while Stokes, a personal trainer, was running on Stevens Creek Trail. She managed to fend off the assailant, and police later arrested John Detches, 32, on three counts of assault with attempt to commit rape.

"I really rarely jog," Stokes told the Voice. "I really only run once a month so it's kind of a fluke thing."

Stokes said she was only about a mile from home when she jogged past the man who attacked her.

"He was just standing on the side of the trail," she said, adding that he looked like "just a regular guy, just kind of chilling."

"I didn't even think twice about running by him," she said. There were many people out on the trail, and it was broad daylight.

"He just reached out and bear hugged me to his chest and picked me up like a little baby," she said. Stokes, who is five-foot-three with a slight build, said her arms were pinned near the attacker's face, "where my hands couldn't flail."

"Initially I thought it was a joke, that a friend had set me up," she said, but then the attacker began to walk with her toward a nearby ravine.

"That's when I kind of went a little crazy," she said. "I grabbed his jaw and pulled it really, really hard and then he backed up back to the road and let me go."

After he dropped her, she said, he took off on his bicycle, and she started jogging again. Stokes said it took a minute for the attack to sink in.

"I just thought, 'That was weird,'" she said. "Then I got scared and realized how serious that really was."

Though she was shaken up that day, Stokes said the incident hasn't changed her feelings about jogging alone, or using the trail.

"I still don't feel intimidated because I feel that the chances of it happening (again) are so slim," she said. "I feel pretty confident that if it happened again I'd be able to handle myself."

Stokes said she has not had any formal self-defense training, though friends have been giving her tips since the attack.

"I still want to go out alone," she said, adding that she's considered bringing a cell phone with her -- although in an emergency situation she may not be able to use it anyway.

"I really think we should always say where we're going to be and when we're going to be back," she said. "As long as you inform somebody of where you are that's one of the very best things you can do."

And if a person does attack, she said, "Try to remember everything. The finest details can really help (the police) catch the person."

According to police, after Detches' arrest, Stokes helped confirm him as her attacker by picking him out of a photo lineup.

"I think it's awesome," Stokes said of the arrest. "I have to say, I've not really worked with police much at all, and I was so, so impressed with the Mountain View Police Department."

"The fact that they caught him, it just makes me feel happy for all the other ladies," she said. "He was getting bolder with his attempts."

Comments

Posted by zz bikerider, a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm

good job !!!!! well done !! we can all learn from this to keep these dirtbags of the streets and get help, we should all feel safe to go as we please !!!


Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Crystal Stokes for Trail Boss!


Posted by Why Again, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Thats great - She just lost this case for the police department. The lack of fear and scared after the fact. The defense will read this article and the judge will reduce it to a simple battery with time served. I hope I am wrong. When is the press going to look at the big picture. I hope the "People" have a good day during this trial.


Posted by Hog wash, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Thats great - She just lost this case for the police department. The lack of fear and scared after the fact. The defense will read this article and the judge will reduce it to a simple battery with time served. I hope I am wrong. When is the press going to look at the big picture. I hope the "People" have a good day during this trial.

Great lets ignore the truth in the name of Justice, the true face of the Judical system. Hidden agenda and fabrication of the Truth with the Police lying without anyform of Moral Compass.. Just what made the USA the USA.


Posted by reader, a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm

These last two posters are talking nonsense. The case against this guy is solid, and there are other victims so plenty of testimony. As for Hog wash: whatever dude.


Posted by another reader, a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2009 at 7:48 pm

As for Hog wash: whatever dude.
Glad you find it amusing.

I really like this quote
And if a person does attack, she said, "Try to remember everything. The finest details can really help (the police) catch the person."



Posted by James Matt, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Proud of you Crystal Stokes...I'm willing to jog with ya' if you'd like. Women should at least jog in pairs


Posted by QM, a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:07 am

Like the fifth Teletubbie, Detches roamed the Stevens Creek Trail as if it were his own Teletubbie Land. He brought to us a new definition of hugger-mugger. When all is said and done, I think that the courts will find that Detches suffered from mental illness, and that we are at fault for his crimes, for letting him get to a point were he is off his meds and roaming the trail unsupervised. It takes a village.


Posted by BMXer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm

If they would not have torn down the BMX park on the trail, we would have a lot more traffic on the trail, cutting down on the danger!


Posted by Charles Martin, a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

She should be very thankful for the outcome, but she took a basic risk that was stupid. First you should never jog or walk alone, especially if you are a woman. I learned that as a ten year old boy scout. She did right by fighting back but she should have screamed also. Acting like you are having a seizure is also a good tactic. Never allow yourself to be taken to a secondary location, this is what the guy was trying to do, and in virtually all cases where that happens the victum ends up raped or dead. Be aware of your surrondings and don't take uneccessary risks!


Posted by just bored, a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:49 pm

must be real slow news day to print this newsless story.


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Good for you Crystal! Way to not let this creep totally throw you off the ball.

I thought the same thing that BMXer posted when this happened. I think some young BMXing men would probably of kicked the crap out of the guy had they seen this take place.

As for Charles' advice, I have to disagree big time. Women should be able to walk, jog or run alone in broad daylight in our fine community. No need to stiffle our freedoms because of one or two creepers.


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

* stifle


Posted by william symons, a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm

to Why again: "Huh?? what provoked you to make such a sideways offensive careless comment in a public forum? Do you really think that way??? wow... think before you type


Posted by akl, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm

To James Matt and Charles Martin - Really? "Women should never walk/jog alone"? Are we in Iran?


Posted by Josh, a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:26 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment]


Posted by phm, a resident of The Crossings
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Aki - you took the words right out of my mouth. Or at least off my monitor. Ms. Stokes did everything right. And she has the right attitude - it was a fluke, a rare event. We must not live in fear. This is America.


Posted by AnnieK, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I don't understand why this walker's entire name was publicized or if this is permitted when the "attacked person" approves? I'm not sure that's the way to go. We don't know how every creep thinks or operates. Wouldn't we be placing the "attacked person" in harm's way when we give out that kind of info?


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