NORTH BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island woman was recovering Monday after a terrifying ordeal.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the woman was sexually assaulted as she walked alone in her quiet neighborhood in North Bellmore early Sunday morning. She managed to fight the large man and run away, but the suspect remained on the loose a day later.

Mild weather on Monday had neighbors out walking in In North Bellmore, but looking over their shoulders.

“It is terrifying, yes,” a neighbor said. “There’s so much going on in our world now, you’re afraid to go out of your house.”

The attack happened around 2 a.m. in the area of Porter Street and Porter Place in North Bellmore, police said. News of the incident spread fast.

“Disgusting, really – it’s unbelievable – it’s such a quiet neighborhood, really,” said Robert Hayes of North Bellmore.

“People walk their dogs and go for walks at all hours of the night here, because it’s such a safe neighborhood,” another neighbor said.

Sources said the woman was walking from a nearby 7-11. The 25-year-old victim was distracted – using a cellphone — when the man in a sedan jumped out and sexually assaulted her, sources said.

Police said the man startled the woman, striking her in the head and causing her to fall to the ground. He then dragged her to the back seat of his car, police said.

“She was able to kick the subject,” said Nassau County police Detective Lt. Richard LeBrun. “At that point, she was able to free herself, get away and she immediately called the police.”

Nassau County police late Monday were canvassing the area for surveillance video to try to capture images of the attacker’s car, and to determine if she was followed.

The woman not only fought the man off, but provided a detailed description.

Police describe the suspect as a 6-foot-tall white man in his 30s with a very large build and a goatee without a mustache. He was wearing jeans and dark-colored sweatshirt.

The car is described as a newer model black, four-door sedan with tan interior that was extremely messy with garbage.

“It was good of her at that time of the morning to be so observant.,” a neighbor said. “We’ll have to watch our backs all the time.”

The victim was recovering late Monday with contusions to her head. Police issued a reminder to walkers.

“You need to be cognizant of your surroundings. You need to be a good witness,” LeBrun said. “And again, if you need to fight off your assailant, you do that. You kick, you scream, you bite, you do whatever to get away from that person.”

Police have intensified patrols. Nassau County police said they have no similar cases that fit the same description.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.

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