Midvale police called it a heinous incident.

They reported that a woman riding alone on a TRAX train was randomly attacked by a man with an extensive criminal history after she refused his sexual advances.

The woman was riding on a southbound train about 9 p.m. Thursday when a man approached her and "starting making sexual gestures" before grabbing her leg, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

The woman tried to push the man away, a move which seemed to enrage him, the report said.

"(Expletive) don't you know who I am?" he said, according to the jail report.

The man then "punched the victim numerous times in the face," said Midvale police Sgt. John Salazar. "Her nose was bleeding profusely. It was a substantial break."

The train stopped at the Midvale Center TRAX station, 7720 S. 95 W. Both the woman and suspect got off. Police say the woman and man both got off and that the woman called 911 as he walked away.

Midvale and UTA officers responded immediately and swarmed the area. The woman gave a description of the man, saying he had a teardrop tattoo under his right eye. Officers found a man matching the description walking along 7800 South near 210 East. Raymond Deherrera, 37, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of second-degree felony aggravated assault. He was being held Monday on $10,000 bail.

Salazar said there were no other witnesses in the incident. He called the situation "very scary," noting that it was completely random.

"This is the first assault we've had of this kind," Salazar said.

UTA spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware said her officers continued to work with Midvale police in the investigation.

"Fortunately, these incidents, while very serious, are very rare on TRAX," she said.

A check of court records showed Deherrera has a long criminal history, including arrests for drug possession, criminal mischief, theft and possession of a dangerous weapon. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Angie Welling said Deherrera was first admitted to the Utah State Prison in 1988 and has been in and out on a fairly regular basis until his most recent release in November 2007.

TRAX representatives Monday said there are safety devices on each train, including intercoms in every car for riders to use as well as an emergency push button over every other door to alert the train operator. UTA also has a "Transit Watch" program. More information on the program can be found at www.rideuta.com/ridingUTA/safetySecurity/transitWatch.aspx.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com