Phoenix woman escapes from axe-wielding suspect with help from stranger

A Phoenix woman narrowly escaped from a hatchet-wielding attacker, thanks to a stranger. Now, the two are sharing their stories.

The victim, identified as Gina Hopkins-Calligan, was jogging on 7th Avenue in Central Phoenix last week when a man suddenly started chasing after her, holding a hatchet.

"He was just screaming. He was galloping at me with the axe, like this just ready to chop me to pieces, he looked determined to kill me," said Hopkins-Calligan. "I was just screaming, waving my arms. I probably looked like a crazy person."

In a panic, Hopkins-Calligan says she tried to flag down a driver on a busy stretch of roadway for help, but only one person stopped.

"She said something to me, and turned on this street and let me into her car," said Hopkins Calligan.

That good samaritan was identified as Emily Regester, who was on her way to class that morning.

"I saw an altercation. It was dark, so I wanted to make sure she was OK, so I turned right here and met her, asked if she was OK. She said no. So she got in the car, and we called 911," said Regester.

According to police records, officers found 25-year-old Joshua Eicher still in the area, with a hatchet in his possession.

Hopkins-Calligan says she credits her escape to the kind stranger that stopped to help.

"She absolutely saved herself, I would say," said Regester. "She’s a very fast runner."

Police describe Eicher as a homeless addict, and the attack appears to be random and unprovoked.

"It’s scary to think what if that were not me? What if that were an elderly person who could not run away from him?" said Hopkins-Calligan.

Eicher is in jail, and is facing a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon.