An American private equity partner that was arrested for questioning in the case of a jogger shoving a woman into oncoming traffic in London has denied any wrongdoing.
Eric Bellquist, an employee at Hutton Collins Partners, says he’s been misidentified by authorities in relation to the case.
Metropolitan Police had released a shocking video of a jogger, who they identified as a 50-year-old man, running toward a 33-year-old woman and shoving her to the ground and near an oncoming bus from May. They announced August 10 they arrested Bellquist in connection with the case, questioned him, and released him on bail.
Bellquist and his lawyers have since denied any wrongdoing.
“Police investigating an assault after a jogger appeared to push a woman into the path of an oncoming bus in Putney have made an arrest,” police said in a statement August 10.
Bellquist was arrested at a residential address in Chelsea, police said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bellquist & His Lawyers Claim He Was in the United States When the Incident Occurred
Bellquist and his lawyers have called it a case of mistaken identity. His lawyers took to Twitter to try and clear his name, saying he was in the United States at the time of incident.
Bellquist has not been charged with any crime in relation to the incident as police continue to investigate.
2. Police Have Been on the Hunt for the Suspect After Releasing the Stunning Video
After exhausting many leads, British police released the surveillance tape from the May 5 incident with the hope of locating the suspect. In the video, which was released in early August, the man is seen running down a street on the Putney Bridge and approaches the woman from the other direction.
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As the suspect and the woman get closer, the man nonchalantly reaches out and shoves the woman to the ground, toward the road and directly into the path of an oncoming bus. The jogger continues running down the road as if nothing happened.
The bus driver was able to swerve out of the way of the woman at the last second and narrowly avoided hitting her.
Police had initially described the man as being in his early-to-mid-30s with brown eyes and short brown hair, and encouraged those with any information to come forward.
3. The Woman Suffered Only Minor Injuries Following the Incident
The 33-year-old victim that was shoved by the suspect received “minor” injuries from the fall.
After noticing the ordeal and narrowly missing her, the bus driver pulled over, and passengers on board got off to assist the woman with her injuries.
According to The Guardian, officers said that after pushing the woman, the jogger ran back the other way across the bridge “about 15 minutes later.” The woman was still on the bridge and reportedly tried to talk with the man, but “he did not acknowledge her.”
“By this time, the members of the public who had helped the woman were gone and she tried to talk to him as he ran past her but he just ignored her,” police said.
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4. Police Praised the Quick Action of the Bus Driver for Avoiding Tragedy
Ever since the incident occurred, authorities and colleagues have applauded the quick reflexes of the bus driver, who was able to swerve out of the way and come to a halt safely.
The unidentified bus driver was traveling at about 12 miles per hour when he looked to the sidewalk and noticed the incident occurring. As the woman tumbled to the ground with her head in the bus’s path, the driver swerved to the middle of the road, avoiding her.
“The victim was put in extreme danger when she was knocked into the road,” Sergeant Mat Knowles, the investigating officer from Putney Saftey Safer Neighbourhood Team, said. “It was only due to the superb quick reactions of the bus driver that she was not hit by the vehicle.”
The bus driver’s colleagues referred to him as a hero for avoiding a potentially-tragic end to the incident.
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“He’s a hero and deserves a medal for saving that poor woman’s life,” one colleague told The Evening Standard. “We’re used to having to dodge cyclists but to have to witness a woman being pushed in front of your bus is scary — he’s definitely a hero.”
According to bus records, the driver was on the Go-Ahead London 430 service from Roehampton to South Kensington as it crossed over Putney Bridge at 7:40 a.m. local time.
The bus driver “immediately returned to work,” but was left stunned not just by the incident, but by the glowing praise he’s received, media reports said.
“It’s horrific to think what could have happened if the driver wasn’t able to act as quick as he did, or if he’d been checking mirrors at that moment,” another colleague with 20 years experience told the publication. “To have the precision to also avoid all the other cars, people and other traffic should be commended.
“These situations are where our training and experience are put to the test, that’s why he managed to act so quickly.”
5. Police Had a ‘Huge’ Response After the Video Release, Which Led to the Suspect’s Arrest
Following the video’s release in August, detectives said they received a “Huge” response from tipsters, BBC reported.
According to Evening Standard, detectives used the website Strava, which records cyclists’ and runners’ routes and times, to attempt to trace the suspect and any other potential witnesses in the attack.
They noted August 9 that they were “closing in” on the man, The Daily Mirror reported.
“We can confirm that we have received a good response from the appeal and are following a number of lines of enquiry,” police said in a statement. “We are still keen to hear from anyone who has information who has not yet come forward.”