Student thwarts would-be-attacker

Saratoga Springs | Track runner fends off attack near high school

By BRENDAN McGARRY
11/1/2005

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A 17-year-old female athlete at Saratoga Springs High
School was nearly abducted Monday evening while leaving campus, police
said.

The girl, whom police didn’t identify, was walking to her car in the West
Avenue parking lot after practice around 5:30 p.m. when a middle-aged man
allegedly approached her from behind and tried to force her into his
minivan, according to Police Chief Edward Moore and Saratoga County
District Attorney James Murphy III.

She kicked and screamed to free herself from the suspect, who fled the
scene, authorities said during a press conference Monday night at the
police station.

“The young girl fought off the defendant and was able to escape,” Moore
said.

Several witnesses called 911 immediately, including track coach Art
Kranick, who called from his cell phone while chasing the suspect in his
car, Moore said.

Kranick followed the 2001 blue Ford Windstar minivan with Massachusetts
plates across campus into the surrounding neighborhoods on the West Side
of the city.

Within minutes, police arrested the suspect on Beekman Street, in the
heart of the new art district, just a few blocks from the high school
campus, Moore said.

John F. Regan, 49, of Waterbury, Conn., was charged with second-degree
attempted kidnapping and attempted unlawful imprisonment, both felonies,
Murphy said.

Regan was described as 5-feet, 9-inches tall, with gray hair, blue eyes
and weighing about 200 pounds. A picture of him was not immediately
available.

Murphy said the girl, a senior at the high school, didn’t know Regan.

“At this point, there is no connection between the defendant and the
potential victim,” he said.

Regan was being held at the police station. Murphy said he will recommend
to deny bail. The arraignment is scheduled for this morning.

A search warrant was executed on Regan’s minivan, Murphy said, which was
impounded and taken to State Police headquarters in Loudonville.

Murphy said City Police were being assisted by State Police, including
the State Police major crimes unit.

Police were investigating whether Regan has a criminal history.

Saratoga Springs Superintendent of Schools Dr. John MacFadden said he was
communicating with authorities about the investigation, which is
continuing.

“This is certainly blatant and worrisome,” he said when reached at home
Monday night.

The girl was described as a prominent member of the cross country or
track teams.

The high school’s girls cross country team has a history of success,
having won 13 state titles, including the last five years.

The program has produced several Division I college cross country runners.

Within an hour after the arrest, Beekman Street was quiet, save for
occasional trick-or-treaters.

A male resident at 81 Beekman St., who didn’t give his name because he
didn’t want publicity,
said he saw a man in a Mazda Miata chase the minivan down the street and
yell that he was calling the police.

© Copyright 2005 Lee Publications, Inc.

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