LAWRENCE (CBS) — A woman who was almost kidnapped in the parking lot of a Methuen Market Basket is determined to remain in good spirits. Meanwhile, the suspect, 53-year-old Rafael Rosario, of Lawrence, is being held without bail.
“What else could I have done but just fight him off as best I could. He wasn’t a big guy, I think I was probably taller than he was,” said Yvonne Lesko.
“I was getting into my car…I hadn’t shut my door yet, I must have just been leaning over to put my pocketbook down, and I was just getting ready to shut my door and all of a sudden I just felt somebody shoving me from the side,” Lesko recalled.
When she realized she did not know the man, she thought, “I can’t believe this happening to me.”
Prosecutors said Rosario was assaulting and strangling Lesko while trying to get into her car Friday night.
“It was scary but everything turned out good and I thank God for Jay,” said Lesko.
The man she mentioned, Jay Sarcione, was the man who helped scare Rosario off, Lesko said.
“I just started pushing back, got my hand on the horn, just started beeping, was pushing him off at the same time, and screaming ‘help, help me, help me.’ I just happened to look up and a pickup truck was pulling in diagonally across from me…this guy’s eyes met mine and he could see that I was in trouble.”
Plow driver Jay Sarcione told WBZ-TV Sunday he jumped out to help Lesko. “I could see the woman, she was getting choked pretty hard and strong and she was getting pushed into the passenger seat,” he recalled.
Lesko said once Rosario saw Sarcione, Rosario took off running. Sarcione ran after him and Lesko got in her car to follow.
Eventually, they stopped. Police arrived shortly thereafter and made an arrest.
Lesko said she kept her cool until it was over. Sarcione “just opened his arms to me, didn’t say a word, came over and just gave me a big hug. That’s when I got a little emotional,” she said.
Rosario was arraigned in Lawrence District Court. He was charged with strangulation, attempted kidnapping, attempted carjacking, and assault and battery. Through a translator, he denied all charges.
Prosecutors also said Rosario violated his probation. Previous charges against him include robbery and assault and battery.
A dangerousness hearing has been scheduled for Friday.