Free ride can be deadly ride: Woman assaulted by driver, attacked by dogs

Killers have long taken the joy out of hitchhiking. But even getting a ride from someone we know can be a potentially lethal idea.

Be wary of the cars you get into/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

Be wary of the cars you get into/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

One woman found that out when she accepted a ride home April 24 from an acquaintance named Arthur Bedoya.

Bedoya, 62, just so happens to be a high-risk level-three sex offender who lives in home surrounded by a fence and guarded by five “vicious” dogs, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department.

We can guess where the story is going from here.

Rather than taking the woman directly to her own house, Bedoya drove to his own residence, the news release said.

Arthur Bedoya/TPD photo

Arthur Bedoya/TPD photo

Sure enough, Bedoya is listed on the Arizona Department of Public Safety sex offender registry. Although his address information says 16th Avenue and Ajo Way, it also notes that he’s homeless.

Regardless of where he lives, the woman tried to leave the property where Bedoya took her – but he evidently had other plans. He tried to sexually assault her then began to “brutally attack” her. She got away and ran outside, only to have the dogs continue the attack.

She was able to get the attention of someone passing by who helped her escape.

Police arrested Bedoya May 18. He was booked into Pima County jail on one count of kidnapping and one count of attempted sexual assault.

The woman’s multiple lacerations and contusions, a result of the attacks by both Bedoya and his dogs, were treated at University Medical Center.

My favorite taxi hailer photo/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

My favorite taxi hailer photo/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

Free rides are potentially deadly rides, for sure. Even giving one can put us in danger.

Some argue this view it too harsh and getting or giving a free ride can be relatively safe.

While no United States statistics are readily available for those who were assaulted or killed during a free ride – how would these stats be counted? – the site puts forth an argument for hitchhiking in Germany.

The site notes that more than 827,000 people died in Germany in 2007, with about 30,000 of those deaths due to non-natural causes.

Of the non-natural deaths, only 451, or a scant 0.06 percent were from assaults. Since not every assault happens in a vehicle with strangers, deaths to hitchhikers or by hitchhikers is even lower than the scant 0.06 percent.

“Therefore you don’t lower the risk of dying a non-natural death in a crucial way if you omit to hitchhike or stop giving a lift to hitchhiker,” the site says.

By all means, then, hop in that stranger’s car – and make sure we pick up a stranger next time we’re driving around. For added excitement, make sure the stranger is wielding an axe.

That’s the same type of argument that says we are more likely to die from cancer than being attacked by a shark. So go ahead, swim in those deep ocean waters, especially if we happen to be bleeding for some reason.

Chum anyone?

Cabs are safer than riding with strangers/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

Cabs are safer than riding with strangers/Ryn Gargulinski file photo

“There is no ‘safe’ place to hitchhike anywhere in the world,” Tom Mercer of Let’s Go Publications is quoted in an article. This same story also argues that hitchhiking died in America mainly because of highway laws banning pedestrians on the side of the road. As a true crime buff, I’m still blaming the killers.

Even though he says hitchhiking is not “safe,” Mercer adds, “Travelers still find success hitching their way from town to town in certain countries and regions of the globe.”

Getting or giving rides from or to strangers may still be a popular mode of transportation in parts of Europe, but in America it’s pretty much thumbs down.

Cars can too easily become a little mobile crime scene. In fact, one of the first rules of warding off an abduction is to never let the abductor get us in the car. And if he ends up in our car, we’re supposed to smash the car into a utility pole to get attention or get away.

Kids are especially at risk. Drivers lure them with candy, Sponge Bob stickers or the tale of a family tragedy. “Your mom just got in an accident and I’m supposed to drive you to the hospital.”

The only part of the hospital a free ride may entail is a trip to the morgue.



What do you think?

Have you ever hitchhiked or picked up a hitchhiker?

What happened?

Do you give or take free rides from acquaintances?

What do you do when you’re walking around and a car pulls over to get near you?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, gross stuff, life, Police/fire/law, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Free ride can be deadly ride: Woman assaulted by driver, attacked by dogs

  1. leftfield says:

    It’s too bad that hitchhiking as a way of getting around has been largely lost.  In my youth I hitchhiked around the country many times and around my hometown daily for many years.  It was one of those unwritten rules that freaks would pick up other freaks.  Sometimes straight folks would pick you up on the highway just to get a close look at you and be able to tell their friends they picked up a “hippy”. 

    My biggest fear at the time was not getting assaulted by a stranger, but getting picked up by the cops.  Once a friend and I were taken by a cop about 40 miles into the middle of nowhere in FL.  We lived off of citrus and slept in orange groves for the two days it took us to walk and hitch back to the highway.   Mostly they would just put you in the local lock-up overnight while they checked you for warrants, etc.  This being the pre-internet days, it was always an overnight thing checking to see if you were wanted.  This wasn’t so bad because you had a bed to sleep in and sometimes even a meal. 

    • Rynski says:

      i, too, lament the death (or at least severe injury) of hitchhiking, leftfield, as i hear so many stories like your own.
      such a romantic and enticing life (save for the cops part – hahah). but, like you said, at least it gave you a bed and sometimes a meal.
      how funny some would pick you up just to say they picked up a hippie – hahah.
      i’ve never hitchhiked in earnest as it was already frowned upon by the time i was old enough to be able to. i took a few short rides around michigan just to see if it was really as exciting as it sounds, but i pretty much cut that out after a truck driver asked a poignant question.
      he said: “how do you know i won’t kill you?”
      and i didn’t have an answer.

  2. azmouse says:

    I hitchhiked a few times as a teen in town, before I could drive. Dumb I know, but I liked to live on the edge 🙂

    Biggest hitchhiking adventure was in the mid-eighties. I was in Missouri, then went across the country on motorcycle to California. Stayed there for a while, but wasn’t loving it so I just started walking towards where I thought a freeway might be.
    Every single vehicle I got into, the people warned me about the ‘night stalker’. The warnings creeped me out more than the people. Everyone that gave me rides were men, except for one middle-aged couple. I was suspiciousof them because, like Ryn, I’m a true crime junky. I kept picturing them keeping me in a big box under their bed, or out in the shed that has all kinds of crazy torture devices…..

    The saddest thing is I have never been able to drive past a motorist who is having trouble. I’d rather be late to wherever I’m going than to not help someone.
    That is when I’ve ended up putting myself in bad situations. Bad people pretend to have car problems just to get some softy like me to pull over and help. I definitely WILL NOT give anyone a ride any more when they’re broken down.
    Now I’ll basically ask them if I can call someone for them, while I’m locked in my car.
    I will get out and help push a car, though.

    • Rynski says:

      yes, living on the edge can be quite thrilling – with the key word of ‘LIVING’ – hahahha.
      i can see how the middle age couple would make you suspicious – it’s often the people who look the most ‘normal’ who end up being the ax murders – esp. couples with body boxes that slide beneath the bed or those torture things in the shed – hahahha.
      that’s kind of the same reason i didn’t fear the truck driver who asked how did i know he would not kill me – he LOOKED like someone who would kill someone. that’s usually a sign the person won’t kill you as they’d get caught too quickly since they already look like a murderer – haha.
      i agree it’s too bad about fearing to help stranded motorists – but i’m with you on that. i remember a case not too long ago (last sept?) where a few folks pretended to be stranded on side of road near miracle mile and a cop pulled over to help – then the people tried to/succeeded in stealing his car and/or shot at him.
      can’t trust anybody, it sometimes seems.
      how nice you’ll still help push a car!

      • azmouse says:

        So true about feeling safer with people who look like killers as apposed to the innocent but deadly types.
        When I was in the car with the couple, there was a weird vibe. Couldn’t put my finger on it then or now, but I swear they kept slowly glancing over at each other. Her driving, him in the passenger seat and me in the back seat.
        Saw an oncoming underpass to get off at and told them that was where I needed to get out..a lie of course.
        Could have avoided it all if I would have taken the first ride up on his offer…have sex with him and he’d buy me a Greyhound bus ticket. NOT!!  He bought me a sandwich and a beer instead 🙂 

      • Rynski says:

        hahhaah! geez, why did you turn down the offer of sex and a greyhound bus ticket? what a casanova…that’s like very woman’s dream, no? hahahahhaha.
        i’ll bet they WERE killers, that couple. glad you got out at the underpass.
        the beer/sandwich/greyhound/sex guy was just a kook. cool you got lunch out of the deal!

      • azmouse says:

        Can’t blame a guy for trying, I suppose. He was the least threatening one of the bunch. I was in my early twenties, so he was an old man to me….at least in his thirties! lol
        He propositioned me while eating the lunch. I recall my attitude at the time was that if I liked you, who knows what might have happened, but trying trade me a bus ticket for sex? Yeah….not so much… HA

  3. radmax says:

    Hi Rynski! Man, what a drag. People used to be so cool about rides; you just told them that you were heading to Sabino or a concert at the TCC and it was free ride o-rama. They usually ‘broke out’ too. 😉
    It’s a shame people are either callous or psychotic(take your choice) these days.
    Just this morning I saw a hitcher being hassled by the man( 😉 ) while headin’ to Sierra Vista.
    As George Costanza would say, “we live in a society here!”
    Ah progress, the more I understand it, the less I like it.
    Free rides are ‘not cinches’-captcha 🙂

  4. Ferraribubba says:

    I gave up on picking up hitchers after the young man that I picked up on the I-5 on-ramp in downtown L.A. started to try to  feel me up. He said that he “was so tired that he’d just give in tonight.”
    I slowed down to about 20 mph, opened his door for him and requested that he exit my vehicle, post haste. Which he did, without another word.
    Another missed oportunity I had was the fine young blond woman, dressed in a white wedding dress, sans shoes, but with many eye-shadow stained tears running down her chubby cheeks, standing there at the side of 1-10 in Eloy, holding her long train in one hand, while vigiorously thumbing with the other.
    Since I had more than enough drama in my life at the time, I passed on her, but called the Arizona Highway Patrol and reported her plight.
    The other hitchhicking story is about a friend who made sure that he ate well on long trips. For free.
    He would try to pick up a hitchhiker 30 minutes or so before meal time, and suggest that they stop at a diner, he’d treat. About 3/4 through the fine meal, he’d say to the hitcher, “Oh, I forgot something in the car. I’ll be right back.”
    Never to be seen again. BURP!
    Hey don’t blame me here. Remember, I’m only the messenger.
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

  5. Desert Rat says:

    yeah Hitch hiking is a loaded gun ready to be fired …but so is a hitch hiker that is trying to get revenge … That woman is a dirty liar I want to know who this person is that “helped her” .. really a female can go to a males house specifically to party and drink (what she is known for),  regardless if he is a sex offender or not.. STEAL FROM HIM VANDALIZE  HIS PROPERTY and then FALL DOWN A DITCH and YELL RAPE ….. and everyone comes running to her aid …. as a female I find this disgusting that the media is all over this juicy story … and NO ONE HAS THE FACTS RIGHT …..

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