QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- Deputies were in the right place at the right time to stop a violent sexual assault from escalating, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
In the early morning hours Sunday, deputies were patrolling in Queen Creek near Ocotillo and Ellsworth roads. As they passed a strip mall they saw a woman wearing only a shirt and underwear. She was coming out of an alley and running away from a man when she saw the deputies and started wildly trying to get their attention.
The man chasing the woman, according to MCSO, was 44-year-old Todd Lynn Smith. Smith faces felony charges for sexual assault, aggravated assault and kidnapping.
“During the sexual assault she was able to actually get away from him and was actually furthering her distance when Todd Smith was hot on her trail, right behind her, trying to get a hold of her again when the deputies intervened,” said MCSO spokesman Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.
Smith tried running away from deputies, who gave chase and quickly arrested him.
During the investigation, the victim told deputies she had come to the back door of a business to see if a friend was still around. She knocked on the door but no one answered. She told detectives that when she turned to leave, she saw Smith, a stranger, waiting.
According to MCSO, Smith dragged her into a utility shed and beat her with a broom handle, slammed her head against a wall, threatened to kill her, and forced her to have sex.
Deputies told 3TV that Smith is not from the Valley. He is a visitor from Nevada.