WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A woman jogging in a park while pushing her 8-month-old son in a stroller Friday morning turned the tables on a would-be attacker, hitting him over the head with a tire pump and sending him packing, she said.
Mary Jane Jarman, 33, a stay-at-home mom from Washington Heights, was jogging home on the Hudson River Greenway near the Henry Hudson Parkway and 190th Street at 9:30 a.m. Friday after dropping her daughter off at school when a man jumped out from a behind a wall holding a broken glass bottle, she said.
"Come here, come here," the man told Jarman, who said she began to run for her life, making it about 100 yards down the path before he grabbed her in a bear hug and took her down to the ground, knocking over the stroller in the process.
"I started screaming, trying to attract attention. He came at me," said Jarman, who spoke to DNAinfo New York after speaking to detectives at the 34th Precinct stationhouse.
Jarman said she managed to struggle free and reached for a hand-held bike pump she had in the stroller, bashing the attacker over the head two or three times, until he began to bleed.
"I kept hitting him," she said, showing the shattered pieces of what remained of the black and silver metal bike pump, which she said she always packs in her stroller "to defend myself."
She said her first thought was to protect her 8-month old son, Thane, who lay silent in the stroller beside her during the attack.
"I was protecting him with my life," she said.
Jarman said the man "didn't try to get my phone. His sole intent was to hurt me."
Jarman said after she beat the man repeatedly, he released her and retreated, telling her in broken English, "I'm really sorry, I'm sick," she said.
The man fled off toward the West Side Highway, she said, leaving her shaken and alone.
She said she called 911 repeatedly, but the calls kept dropping in the thickly wooded area. She finally flagged down a biker along the path, who helped her, she said.
Jarman's husband, Joe Jarman, said he wasn't surprised his wife was able to fight off the attacker.
"That's her personality," said Joe Jarman, a dental resident at Columbia University Medical Center.
Mary Jane Jarman said she had no idea that the path, which she takes on a daily basis, was dangerous. It has been the site of multiple muggings, including a recent spate of trip-wire attacks on bikers, police said.
Police said they are searching for the attacker, who Jarman said was dressed in a light blue thermal jacket, a red visor and glasses. The visor and glasses fell off during the struggle, she said.
She said the incident left her afraid to use the path home again.
"I'm going to take a different route," she said, adding that she also plans to pick up a canister of pepper spray.