Mountain View police arrested an Oakland man Thursday morning after identifying him as the suspect in a rape and strangulation reported on Sunday morning, according to a statement by the Mountain View Police Department.
On Sunday, the victim was admitted to a local hospital with visible signs of sexual assault, according to the statement. The woman told officers that she had picked up a friend -- identified as 29-year-old Lavel Powell -- and that he had strangled her until she lost consciousness and then sexually assaulted her, police said.
According to the victim, Powell had called her in the early morning hours Sunday and told her that he needed to be picked up from a business near the intersection of Dale Avenue and El Camino Real in Mountain View, police said. She drove Powell a short distance, to the 800 block of Greenview Drive, before she parked and talked to Powell.
During the conversation, Powell allegedly grabbed the victim by her neck and strangled her to the point of unconsciousness, police said. When she awoke, she said Powell was sexually assaulting her. The victim said she was able to push Powell off and out of the vehicle and then drove herself to a nearby hospital.
Mountain View police detectives tracked down Powell and arrested him around 11 a.m. Thursday in Palo Alto, outside of his workplace. He was arrested without incident and booked into Santa Clara County without bail on charges of rape by force, police said.
"These cases are never easy, and what this young woman suffered is beyond reprehensible," Sgt. Dan Vicencio said in a statement. "We are investigating this case fully."
Police could not immediately say what other charges Powell may face, and did not provide information on whether he had any criminal history. Police say the victim and Powell were friends, but declined to elaborate on how well they knew each other.