Manual cross country team reports suspicious man chasing girls d - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Manual cross country team reports suspicious man chasing girls during practice

The Manual girls' cross country team was practicing at Tom Sawyer Park when they said a man chased them. (Source: WAVE 3 News File) The Manual girls' cross country team was practicing at Tom Sawyer Park when they said a man chased them. (Source: WAVE 3 News File)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Police have stepped up patrols at a park in east Louisville after high school students reported a suspicious man chasing them during cross country practice.

That report of a man chasing the Manual girls' team in E.P. Tom Sawyer Park has parents concerned, as well. The park is off Hurstbourne Parkway near Westport Road.

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Police confirmed a letter was circulated between three high school cross country teams -- Manual, Assumption and South Oldham -- after that man scared students last Tuesday.

One man said he called police moments after he heard a woman scream on Tuesday, July 31. 

"Two young ladies, who I had passed earlier when they were jogging, came running out of the woods and they were frightened," a man who did not want to give his name said.

The news put other teams who practice at the park on alert.

Assumption High School sent out this letter:

CC Girls and Parents:

Normally, we have no issues at the parks, but if something ever happens, then it's important to let everyone know. It's also a good time to reinforce our team guidelines with practice.

Two area coaches mentioned that there was a creeper at EP Tom Sawyer this week.  He's chased girls (he's not too fast, so they got away with ease - but still, he did chase them) and he's apparently done some lewd stuff. One coach also thinks that this person may have mental issues.

Here's a description from 2 different days where he was spotted:

  • Hispanic male (short, stocky, purple shirt, red shorts, wearing an ace bandage around his knee
  • Latino, around 5'5, wearing work boots, cargo pants, and a tan/green shirt

There's no guarantee that this person will reappear at Sawyer or even be confined to Sawyer. When we run, we want girls in groups, never alone. The coaches will make it a point to be particularly watchful this week. I'm typically out before practice in the areas where everyone runs, so I'll be looking for this person. If parents are out walking or running during practice, then please let us know if you notice anything unusual. The bottom line is that we will be watchful and careful, but we will not hide. Our job as coaches will be to ensure that the practice environment is as safe as possible, and we will do exactly that.

The man who saw the frightened girls said he also saw a man fitting the description driving away in a silver small sedan with a spare tire on the right front.

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What exactly the man was doing to frighten the girls running in the park has not been revealed. But police are stepping up patrols.

"Especially this summer it seems we've been very heightened on this type of behavior," LMPD Major Jamey Schwab said. "And we certainly want to make sure the public understands we take this kind of thing seriously and we're going to be out here."

The Jefferson County Public School system confirmed Manual has not returned to the park for cross country practice. Daniel Kemp, a spokesman for JCPS, said parents would help monitor future practices.

Kemp said the coach of Manual's team called police immediately.

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