Pedicab driver saves woman, chases sexual assault suspect in Downtown Austin

Austin Police have charged 18-year-old Said Yarow with sexual assault after they say a pedicab driver downtown saw him assaulting a woman in front of the U.S. Courthouse. The pedicab driver then chased Yarow into a creek. (Photo: Austin Police Department)

Police say a pedicab driver saved a woman from a sexual assault in downtown Austin and chased the suspect into a creek.

Just before 2 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, Austin Police responded to a call at 4th Street and Guadalupe. The call said a pedicab driver was chasing a man, later identified as 18-year-old Said Yarow, who police say sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman on a bench in front of the U.S. Courthouse downtown.

According to an affidavit, the pedicab driver told police he had just dropped off a fare and was going to stop working for the night. While he was at a stop sign at 4th Street and Rio Grande, he heard a loud wail coming from the area of the courthouse.

Police say the pedicab driver rode east on 4th Street to see if someone needed help. As he approached the courthouse, he saw Yarow on top of the victim. The driver told police he initially thought it was just a couple having sex, but he became suspicious when he saw the victim was unconscious and unresponsive.

The driver asked Yarow "what are you doing?" The driver said Yarow looked perplexed and told the driver the victim was his girlfriend. Since his phone battery was low, the driver didn't call 911, and instead decided he should get Yarow and the victim around other people in order to find a police officer.

Police say he offered Yarow and the victim a ride, and helped Yarow carry the victim to the pedicab, where he noticed she was extremely intoxicated. The driver told police the victim fell forward in the cab and hit her head on the passenger handle, emitting the same wail that drew his attention in the first place.

The report states that Yarow told the driver he was going to call his brother to pick them up, speaking another language on the phone. The driver said Yarow got out of the pedicab two or three times before they reached Guadalupe, and each time the driver would tell Yarow he was taking him to his brother.

The driver told police that when they reached the intersection of 4th and Guadalupe, Yarow jumped out and ran north. The driver found bystanders to watch his cab and the victim and began chasing after Yarow. The driver caught up to Yarow in an alley, where he says Yarow approached him aggressively. The driver implored Yarow to return to the pedicab. Instead, Yarow ran into the park in front of the courthouse and out into a parking lot.

Court documents say the driver, still chasing Yarow, asked a man on a bicycle to help him catch Yarow. The cyclist rode after Yarow as well, who then jumped a metal railing into an alley near 4th and Rio Grande. The driver approached the alley and saw Yarow near a trash can before he ran toward a tree line and fell into a creek. That's when the driver lost track of Yarow.

The affidavit states officers found a black wallet in the creek with an employee identification from the W Hotel inside belonging to Yarow.

The victim told police she had taken a number of drugs to get high the afternoon before, including cough medicine and marijuana. After taking two shots of vodka with a friend around 8 p.m or 9 p.m. she went to the Vulcan Gas Company on 6th Street alone. She told police she drank two drinks at the club, left and came back. The next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital.

Police reviewed security footage from the U.S. Courthouse, showing two men carrying a woman to a wooden bench on the morning of the incident. One of the men walked away and wasn't seen again. The other man sat beside the woman, holding her head up and kissing her while she appeared to be unconscious. The man and woman move out of camera range, and sometime later, a pedicab arrives and the driver and the man carry the woman to the cab. Approximately 7 to 9 minutes later, the video shows one man running past the camera, followed on the same path by another man.

The pedicab driver was able to identify Yarow in a photo lineup as the man he chased. The victim was able to identify Yarow as the attacker via a single photo.

Yarow is charged with sexual assault, a 2nd degree felony.

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