OAK HILL, W.Va. — The White Oak Rail Trail in Oak Hill is safe according to the city’s police department and city manager.
There was an allege rape there Saturday and on Monday a man was in jail and the victim hospitalized. Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass said Monday it was a tragic but isolated incident.
“The rail trail has been and continues to be a safe place for all ages to recreate on,” he said. “The police department does an excellent job.”
Oak Hill police and deputies from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department did make quick work Saturday night to arrest Thomas Gene Carter, Jr., 47, of Oak Hill, for the crime.
Hannabass said the incident can be used to help residents remember to take steps to protect themselves.
“We need to be aware of our surroundings and take precautions anytime you are in a remote area to take a companion or two with you,” he said.
The victim told police a man wearing a mask and gloves attacked her from behind near Allman Street while she was on the rail trail and dragged her into a wooded area off the trail where he tied her up, gagged her and used a knife to cut off her clothing. She was able to get away when he left the scene after he had promised to return and kill her.
City Manager Hannabass said residents also need to remember guns for protection are allowed on the rail trail with the proper permits. He said it’s time for the public to not let the tragic incident take away some of their freedom.
“I encourage everyone to get out on the rail trail and enjoy it and I still believe it’s a very safe venue,” he said. “You can rely on the police department to an extent but we all need to take our personal safety into our own hands.”