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.”

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  • wvumounties8

    Glad to see a City Manager reminding WV residents of their 2nd Amendment right to self protection...........more and more women are obtaining their CPL (Concealed Pistol Licence) in WV and there are many good manufactures of jogging holsters that conceal and are comfortable and excellent for protection. Kudos to City Manager Hannabass!!

  • sammy

    It would be safe for me and my friend. Colt 45.

  • lee

    I call bull crap , it can't be safe , just ask the lady that got raped.

  • Bill Hill

    I have dealt with rail trails through out the state, which was part of my job with the Dept. of Transportation. Many are patrolled, protected, safe, and well cared for. However, some aren't. One case I ran into, a trail had been allowed to deteriorate. The National Trail Act, under which trails exist, prohibits motorized vehicles on the trails. I was nearly ran over by a motorcycle, and I found where four wheelers were using the trail. Additionally, the trail was overgrown with many places convenient for illegal activity. When the County Commission was confronted with the facts I was informed the sheriff didn't feel any duty to patrol the trail and they weren't going to spend the money to keep the trail up. This was even though they had an agreement to do the very things they now refused to do.

    My question is this. If people want a trail and the county governments create the trails, then why in the world don't they plan to patrol them and keep them up. Obviously, the situation in Oak Hill, raises questions about the police department and the area leadership.

  • DWL

    Famous last words 'til the body is found.

  • Mighty Mighty Devil

    Oak Hill. 6 miles or so (?) through the middle of town. Basically separates the biz district from the downtown resi district for about 50% of it. The area where this attack happened is about a mile or so from the PD building. It's an isolated area for the most part behind the high school football stadium and athletic fields.

  • arp

    Where is this rail-trail and how many miles does it extend?