Ottawa police are investigating after a woman was dragged into bushes and sexually assaulted near the Heron Transitway station.

Police said the woman was walking from the station to Aldea Avenue on Monday at about 9:40 p.m. when a man grabbed her from behind near Lasalle Street.

The woman said she was taken into nearby bushes and sexually assaulted before the suspect fled the scene.

Justin Leblanc and Jayden Devine said they were driving away from a home in Heron Park when they saw a frantic woman flagging them down.

They said she had stumbled out of the bushes and that her clothing was torn. The pair said she told them she had been sexually assaulted and blacked out during the attack. 

They then accompanied her as she walked home, where her family called police.

Police believe attacker did not know victim

The woman was treated for minor injuries and later released from hospital, police added.

Investigators believe the attacker was a stranger and are looking into the possibility that the victim was followed home from Heron Transitway station.

Staff Sgt. Angela McDade of the Ottawa police sexual assault unit said the woman has been helpful in the investigation.

"For any victim of something like this it is frightening and it's traumatic," said McDade.

McDade described the suspect as a white man in his 30s with short, dark hair and a medium to athletic build. He stands about six feet tall and he was wearing a dark-coloured sweatshirt and jeans at the time of the attack.

Anyone with information about the incident are asked to call Ottawa police at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.

The incident happened outside the yard of Heron Park resident Katie Taylor. She said she considered the area a safe neighbourhood before the incident.

"I don't worry about going out at night but it's disconcerting, it literally happening in our yard," said Taylor.