5:03 p.m.Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Trail near the site of the recent Oak Grove Park assault
In the northwest part of Brooklyn Park, Oak Grove Park is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts.
“It’s a nice section of trail. It is very wooded. It’s covered,” said Pam Sayler, owner of Trailhead Cycling in Plymouth and Champlin.
Sayler also happens to live right next to Oak Grove Park. It’s an area that has now had increased security after an incident on the track last Sunday where a man assaulted an 18-year-old runner.
“When I heard about this incident, it crossed my heart,” Sayler said. “I have daughters who ride this bike path and friends who ride this bike path.”
This is one of the reasons Sayler encourages his clients to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to keep certain things in mind if they encounter a similar situation.
“Go where the people are”
“If you can get that person to be pushed back a little bit, that they can’t take advantage of you, then get on your bike and run away as fast as you can,” Sayler said. “And go to a lighted area. And go where the people are. Maybe as soon as you get to the intersection, get off the trail and go to a house.
These are things Paula Pentel of Golden Valley thinks about every time she hops on her bike.
“I’ve had people reach out through car windows and hit me, you know, in the back or on the butt while I was riding my bike,” Pentel said.
Pentel is an avid cyclist who rides a bike with a phone strapped to her chest and a light on her helmet.
But if she was ever mugged on a trail, the first tool she would use would be her voice.
“I would be loud. I think it’s really good to be loud,” Pentel said. “And for me, really take care of yourself, you know. And scream.
While safety is something people can’t take for granted, Sayler says for people who frequent Oak Grove Park, one incident shouldn’t deter them from having fun.
“None of us should ever have to deal with this situation, but be mentally prepared if this situation happens,” Sayler said. “There are a lot of houses in this neighborhood. To call for help. There are many people in this area who would come to your aid.
Meanwhile, Three Rivers Park District officials, who oversee the trail where the incident occurred, said Three Rivers Public Safety is assisting Brooklyn Park with its investigation and will increase patrols in the area.
Brooklyn Park | Plymouth