Patrols pick up at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park after reports of suspicious man chasing runners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Reports of a suspicious man chasing runners at E.P. Tom Sawyer State park have people on edge. 

A big cross country meet Friday night is expected to draw hundreds of people to the park. But park officials tell the community the park is safe despite those reports, the most recent of which came from a woman this week who said a suspicious man chased her while she was running.

"Obviously, that is concerning, but I think that kind of happens everywhere," said Hannah Carter, who was running at the park Friday.

Carter comes to the park a couple times a week and said she'll now be more cautious.

"I do generally carry my cell phone," she said. "That's about as far as I go."

LMPD has increased patrols, and park rangers are doing the same. Interim Park Manager Nick Price said the park is taking the reports seriously. He said from from information he's received, the description of the suspicious man is, "Hispanic gentleman, 5' 5'' in height, medium build, just wearing regular clothing, and the vehicle was a silver Toyota."

It's similar to reports made in July when female high school cross country runners said a short Hispanic man chased them.

Cross country teams that practice at the park sent warnings to their runners.

"Even though it's kind of been a presence the past few weeks, here at the park typically, we don't have these sorts of things going on at the park on a regular basis," Price said. He said if they see someone matching that description, "we locate the individual and watch what is going on and see if further action is needed."

Price is reminding people to be aware of their surroundings and to run in groups and carry cell phones. 

"We know the one vehicle has been seen several times, and we know if the one vehicle is seen, definitely there will be a lot of attention drawn to the park at that time from local law enforcement and our park ranger," he said.

LMPD is still investigating the case. Anyone with information can call 574-LMPD.

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