A Brooklyn college student bravely fought off a stranger who kidnapped her at knifepoint off the street, bound her and beat her with a tire iron as he tried to rape her.
And then determined cops tracked the ex-con down with a combination of old-school tenacity and modern technology, the Daily News has learned.
The 20-year-old victim was walking to the subway down Lott Ave. in Brownsville when her attacker grabbed her from behind near Christopher Ave. about 6 p.m. on Jan. 3, police say.
He held a knife to her neck as he slammed her against his SUV and wrapped her mouth in clear packing tape, according to police and court papers.
He then forced her into the SUV, where she fought back, struggling with him for control of the knife and cutting his lip.
But he wasn’t through and beat her with a tire iron.
She dropped the knife as she was clobbered and her assailant pounced, wrapping her arms with the tape and yanking down her pants and underwear.
He sexually abused the victim, but she continued to struggle until he gave up trying to rape her, instead throwing her out of the vehicle and speeding off.
“She saved her own life,” said NYPD Capt. Alison Esposito.
“She fought that man 10 to 12 minutes in that car. She didn’t give him a chance, either to get it completely done or to drive off with her. I honestly believe that’s what saved her life. He got frustrated and ended up dumping her because of that fight.”
Esposito was at her desk at the 73rd Precinct stationhouse when she heard a radio transmission describing the attack.
She raced to the scene, where other officers had already unbound the victim and were wrapping her in blankets. She had cuts on her neck, hands, fingers and forehead along with gruesome bruises from the tire iron.
“They were trying to figure out what happened,” Esposito said. “She, understandably so, was hysterical and wasn’t able to give a lot of information.”
But the young woman was able to describe the SUV, a silver-gray Honda Pilot, and an NYPD sergeant took down her cell phone number just as she was being loaded into an ambulance.
The phone number was crucial because the victim’s phone turned out to be in her purse still inside her attacker’s SUV. Using a tracking app, the sergeant quickly figured out her assailant was heading toward Queens.
Esposito led the chase in her car. A police helicopter was brought in as she called other officers, hoping to box in the suspect.
But the creep had a head start, and police did not have a license plate number to work with. He stopped in Queens at one point, then headed to the Bronx over the Whitestone Bridge, the tracking info revealed.
Esposito called a Bronx NYPD lieutenant. He was at his grandmother’s wake.
“But I’m getting guys for you,” he told Esposito.
The chase continued until the signal went dead, likely because the attacker realized the phone was in the purse and shut it off.
The last signal was at a streetcorner in Mount Vernon, Westchester County. At that point, the attacker could have been headed anywhere.
Working with Mount Vernon cops, NYPD Special Victims Division investigators kept on the case through the night. Reviewing surveillance video feeds they were able to find images of the vehicle and read its place.
By morning, cops had nabbed Oneil Reid, 34, yanked from his basement apartment on E. Sidney Ave. in Mount Vernon.
He was charged with kidnapping, sexually motivated robbery and assault, unlawful imprisonment, sex abuse and weapons possession. He is being held at the Brooklyn Detention Complex on $500,000 bail.
In 2010, Reid was arrested for attempted murder for robbing and shooting a man in the leg in Brooklyn. He was convicted of attempted assault and was sentenced to 3½ in prison.
He was released in February 2013, and his parole supervision ended in August.
Esposito, who last week became commanding officer of a public housing command covering 22 Brooklyn developments, was not surprised at the quick arrest.
“The case was so horrific,” she said.
“Everyone was so truly invested. When you come to a scene like that your first thought, honestly, is ‘Oh, dear God.’ But then that thought gets thrown out of your head as quickly as you possibly can and you become an analyst — ‘What happened? What do I do next? How do I get the guy?’ “