Driskill employee attacked on her way to work

Wednesday morning, a woman was attacked on her way to work at the Driskill hotel.

This is the second employee there that has been a victim of an early morning attack in the last two years.

“The victim parked her car about 5:15 a.m., started walking towards the hotel,” said Austin Police Department Robby Unit Detective Patrick O’Farrell.

That’s when she was approached by a man who continually asked her for money.

“She turned into the alleyway and that's when the assault happened. He started to punch her in the face, according to her, and then she tried to run away from him,” O’Farrell said.

Police said Douglas Jacob hit, kicked and threw the victim to the ground.

“She did suffer a busted upper and lower lip, her face was very swollen, she did have some cuts and abrasions on her elbows, she said she was in a lot of pain,” said O’Farrell. 

Luckily, another employee at the Driskill heard the woman's cries for help and found her and the suspect in the alleyway.

“He followed the suspect down 6th Street and some construction workers that were down the street heard all the same commotion going on, they followed with him and basically kind of detained the guy at 6th and Congress,” O’Farrell said. 

Police said that's where they arrested Jacob, who admitted to the assault and said he was homeless and high on synthetic marijuana and crack.

This is the second time an employee of the Driskill was attacked on the way to work in the last two years. The first was at 6 a.m. in May of 2014.

People who work downtown said the area has become more dangerous as the population grows.

“You have to just be extra cautious and careful because the Austin of today is not the Austin it was 20 years ago. It's a city with city problems,” said John Erwin, owner of B.D. Riley’s Pub, which is right across the street from the Driskill. 

“Every now and then you kind of have to be wary of your surroundings, but for the most part it’s okay. But hearing about something like this, it makes you a little more nervous,” said Vanessa Villareal who works near the Driskill.

Police said the best way to avoid being a target is to pay attention to your surroundings.

Erwin said they often have staff members walk employees to and from their cars to protect them.

“We go the extra effort to make sure that everyone's safe and gets home safely,” said Erwin. 

They believe part of the problem is the location of Austin’s main homeless shelter.

“There’s a lot of temptation downtown and some of our less fortunate citizens are more susceptible to that temptation,” said Erwin. 

Downtown employees believe violent crime could be avoided if police patrolled the area more often.

“You do see a lot of drunk or intoxicated individuals during the day. I think that's important to have that same sort of police reinforcement during the day,” Villareal said. 
               
Jacob was charged with robbery by assault, a second degree felony. He was booked into the Travis County Jail with a $40,000 bond.

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