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Security boss at T helps capture assault suspect

Randy Clarke, clad in dress shoes and a business suit, saw a man assault a woman on High Street Thursday afternoon and gave chase.

Clarke, senior director of secur­ity and emergency management for the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, stepped out of his office in downtown Boston to buy lunch for his staff at about 11:30 a.m.

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Just as Clarke left an ATM near the corner of Summer and High streets, he saw the man assault the woman, Boston ­police said. The man was later identified as David Lewis, 47, of Boston, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

Clarke said he ran after the man for about seven minutes and roughly 10 blocks, giving police directions to the man’s whereabouts over a 911 call. ­Officers eventually stopped the man and arrested him on ­assault and battery charges.

Clarke, 35, of Salem, said he saw the man push the woman, causing her to fall into a traffic control cabinet, police said. He called out for people to attend to the bleeding 26-year-old ­Salem woman and started running.

Lewis led him down Federal Street, into an alley, and down Kingston Street, Clarke said. Clarke snapped a picture of the man with his cellphone in hope that police could use it to identify him if he got away.

“He charged at me and took a couple of swings at me, but I avoided him,” he said.

A passerby who joined in the pursuit was hit in the face by Lewis, a police ­report said.

Lewis then tried to get onto an MBTA bus, but Clarke told the bus driver to close the doors. “He was a heavier guy, so he started slowing down,” he said. “As the sirens got closer, he picked up speed.”

Lewis cut across Bedford Street, ran down Chauncy Street, turned onto Essex Street, and headed down the Avenue de Lafayette, Clarke close behind, police said.

“I wasn’t going to tackle him or anything,” he said. “I’m not a cop.”

Lewis finally headed back toward Kingston Street and was arrested by Boston police on Otis Street. Police working a detail on Lafayette helped stop Lewis, Clarke said.

“The Boston police response was amazing,” he said. “There were at least 10, maybe 12, officers who told him to get on the ground, pinned him down, and put cuffs on him.”

Back where the chase started, the woman was being treated in an ambulance. “I’m sure she’s traumatized,” Clarke said.

If given the chance, Clarke said he would react the same way. “I think T employees as a whole would do this in a heartbeat,” he said.

Lewis was charged with assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a street electrical box. He pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Boston Municipal Court, said Renee Nadeau ­Algarin, spokeswoman for the Suffolk district attorney.

Bail was set at $500 cash, and Lewis is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 11, she said.

Melissa Werthmann
can be reached at melissa.
werthmann@globe.com
.
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