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Driver jumps out of car, fights off man dragging woman into woods near highway

Police in New Jersey say a passing driver saved a woman from a possible sexual assault when he pulled over on a highway and confronted a man attacking her near a wooded area.
/ Source: TODAY

John Bishop could've kept on driving when he saw something suspicious out of the corner of his eye on his way home from work last week.

Instead, the New Jersey hospital worker stopped his truck and, according to police, courageously came to the rescue of a woman who was being dragged into the woods by a man near a highway.

"The moment I glanced at her, someone grabbed her by her shoulders and head and ripped her out of view like you see in a scary movie,'' Bishop told TODAY by phone on Tuesday.

Bishop, 54, said he was on his way home from his job in facilities management at Cooper University Hospital at around 2:30 p.m. on June 6 when he saw a man trying to drag a woman into a wooded area off a highway in Mount Laurel Township, about 35 minutes south of Trenton.

He said he quickly pulled over near an exit ramp and then walked down a hill to see what was happening. He heard a woman's muffled screams and saw rustling in the underbrush.

The moment I glanced at her, someone grabbed her by her shoulders and ripped her out of view like you see in a scary movie."

"I froze,'' he said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I yelled, 'Hey get off of her!' Then she started fighting him and screaming."

Bishop said he tried to bluff the man, saying he was an off-duty police officer and carrying a gun. But the man charged him and the two began fighting on a steep hill, out of view of passing cars.

When the man slipped on the incline, Bishop said he was able to pin him down with a stick. He then dragged the man over the guardrail in view of oncoming traffic.

He said he yelled to the woman to call 911. Eventually, three members of the nearby Palmyra Fire Department stopped on the highway and helped him hold the man down until police arrived.

"I could feel my heart pounding in my chest,'' Bishop said. "I was fighting him for five minutes down in that hill and was running out of steam."

The New Jersey State Police identified the suspect as Donald Cramer Jr., 52, of Philadelphia.

The state police said in a statement that Cramer was charged with kidnapping, criminal attempted sexual assault, aggravated assault and other offenses.

Police told NBC 10 Philadelphia that the woman, whom they did not identify, had missed a bus and was walking on the side of the road when Cramer came out of the woods and attacked her.

Bishop described her as an Asian woman who weighed about 100 pounds. He did not get her name and has not been in contact with her, he said.

She was treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the ordeal and released from a local hospital, police said.

Bishop's actions may have potentially saved other women from harm. Investigators believed Cramer may be a suspect in other sexual assaults and asked that anyone with additional information reach out to the department.

The police also commended Bishop for his actions.

"As troopers, we respond to a variety of calls everyday, and there are times when we must place our lives in jeopardy,'' the state police said in a statement. "Citizens are not necessarily held to this standard, but there are also times when good samaritans step in and risk their lives in order to protect others."

Bishop told TODAY he was uncomfortable being described as a hero.

"It's been overwhelming how many people have been thanking me,'' Bishop said. "It's kind of humbling to tell you the truth. I just did what most people I know would do."