An attack on a random woman in Lighthouse Point landed a 55-year-old man in the Broward County Jail, police said.
Bernard Howard is charged with sexual assault.
Surveillance video from several businesses along the Federal Highway showed a man wearing a camouflage baseball cap riding a blue bicycle with butterfly stickers on the frame. He is seen following a woman from the 1300 block of the S. Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach to the 5300 block of the N. Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point.
According to the arrest report, he first approached her around 2 a.m. on August 29 outside a Cumberland Farms store, but she continued to walk south to a Sunoco gas station to protect herself from the rain. The man sat down next to her and struck up a conversation. He kept trying to touch her, but she pushed him away.
The woman crossed the Federal Highway to a liquor store, but he cut her off on her bike, tapped her on the shoulder and then punched her, according to the report.
She went to the police the next day and told them what had happened.
She said she briefly “passed out” and when she woke up on the floor he was on top of her. He punched her again in the face and she “passed out” a second time. When she regained consciousness, she was sexually assaulted and choked to death before fainting again, investigators said.
The woman suffered a black eye, bruises and scratches around her neck, as well as a cut on her finger that required stitches, police said. She was taken to a sexual assault treatment center and then to her family.
When detectives returned to the scene of the attack, they said they found one of his shoes, the camouflaged baseball cap and other evidence. They also recovered surveillance video from the Cumberland Farms store and Sunoco that showed the man on a bicycle following the woman, as she described him.
A Lighthouse Point police officer spotted the blue bike with butterflies on August 31 and questioned Howard.
When an officer showed the woman a series of photos, she chose Howard’s photo, walked to the corner of the room, fell to her knees shaking and became extremely upset, police said .
Howard was jailed Sept. 1 on bail set at $75,000, records show.