Man Follows and Assaults 16-Year-Old Girl at Gas Station in Road Rage Incident: Officials
An Alabama man allegedly followed a carload of people to a gas station in north Florida.
An Alabama man faces child abuse and other charges in a road rage incident last month in Florida in which he is accused of attacking an underage girl and her boyfriend at a gas station, law enforcement officials said. Thomas Keebler, 40, of Valley, Alabama, is charged with battery, criminal mischief, and child abuse, the Walton County Sheriff's Office in Florida said in a news release. The condition of the unnamed victims was not released. Here's what you need to know about this shocking crime.
Keebler is known to the Walton County Sheriff's Office Criminal Intelligence unit. Keebler is described as "large and muscular," according to the sheriff's office arrest report. "This is an individual our deputies have encountered numerous times," Sheriff Michael Adkinson said in a statement.
"Not to mention his extensive criminal history which includes driving under the influence, assault, possession of cocaine, terroristic threats, public intoxication, and more from jurisdictions across the southeast. He is a danger on the road and off."
Keebler is accused of chasing a car with three people in it, including a driver and a 16-year-old girl, and her boyfriend, who were passengers. None of the victims was identified. "The three victims are of small stature, with the youngest being 16 years old," the arrest report said.
"Based on her appearance, she is obviously a juvenile to any reasonable individual." None of the three had ever seen Keebler before the attack, the arrest report said. It is unclear whether any suffered injuries as a result of the attack.
Keebler drove his truck aggressively and tailgated the victims' car on Highway 20 on April 21 before he passed the car and braked in front of it, according to the arrest report. The victims then drove to Boggy Bayou Store off the highway and pulled into it, the report said. Keelber parked in front of the car "to prevent them from leaving," the report added. "
According to the victim, Keebler aggressively exited his vehicle, walked toward the sedan while screaming obscenities and appeared to be in a rage," the report said. "It should be noted, before any physical contact was made, Keebler approached the sedan, squared up to the window and lunged toward the victim.
"It is at this moment, where Keebler reached into the vehicle (the window was rolled down) and attempted to strike the individual in the back seat," the arrest report said.
"The juvenile exited the vehicle and was thrown to the ground by Keebler. The [second] passenger attempted to exit the vehicle, but Keebler prevented him from doing such by kicking the door closed on his leg. The passenger attempted a second time to exit the vehicle, but Keebler once again kicked the door closed, which resulted in a very large dent to the rear door."
A bystander intervened, after which Keebler left the parking lot, the sheriff's office said.
Sheriff's officials identified Keebler from surveillance video. They spoke with him on April 25, the sheriff's office said. "Keebler advised the incident was physical and asked multiple times, 'am I going to jail, it's ok if I am, I just want to be prepared,'" the arrest report said. "When asked about the ages of the victims, Keebler said, 'I need an attorney don't I?'"
Sheriff's investigators arrested Keebler, and he was charged with child abuse without great bodily harm; battery, touch or strike; and criminal mischief over $200 and less than $1,000. He was released from custody on a $5,000 bond on April 26. It's not clear whether he entered a plea to the charges.