Pizza delivery driver thwarts attempted attack

Brilynn Matthieu says she ran to a neighbor's house for safety. (KATU Photo)

It was a terrifying encounter for a local pizza delivery driver Wednesday night after a man approached her in a family neighborhood, tried to get in her car, demanded money and followed her until she found safety in someone's home.

The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Northwest 4th Street and Battaglia.

Brilynn Matthieu, 22, says she didn't see anyone when she parked. When she opened her trunk to grab the pizzas, she heard a man's voice.

"He started mumbling some stuff and started to try to talk to me a little bit," Matthieu said. "I didn't really have a chance before he walked over to my driver side door and tried to open it."

Matthieu says the man -- she estimates to be in his mid-30s -- appeared inebriated.

Even though the door was unlocked, he was unable to get in.

"Then he asked me if I had any money. And I thought, all right, this is a robbery," Matthieu told KATU. "I had to think, fight or flight? What do I want to do?"

Matthieu stepped around her car, creating space between her and the man, then she made a break for it.

"At first I thought I was overreacting, but then I looked behind me, and he was literally like right there," Matthieu recalled.

She says she frantically knocked on a neighbor's door.

Seconds felt like minutes.

She turned around and noticed the man had tripped on the home's Christmas decorations, buying her enough time for the neighbors to answer the door.

"They let me inside and just gave me a place to sit and called the cops," she said.

Gresham police responded, but the man was nowhere to be found.

"It's just important to know that little weird incidences can happen anywhere," she said. "You just need to protect yourself at all times."

Matthieu has pepper spray, but it was in her car. She didn't have time to grab it.

"I was prepared, but I wasn't," she said.

Shaken up, but OK, she wants others to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

"If you do feel like you are in a semi-sketch situation, definitely react how you feel necessary," she said.

Matthieu asks neighbors to turn on their porch lights, which makes streets much brighter and safer for everyone.

She thanks the homeowners for their help. The pizza was later delivered.

Gresham police say there were no additional calls in the neighborhood following the incident. No arrests were made.

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