A 40-year-old Alabama man who authorities said has an extensive criminal history and is a “danger on and off the road” is facing child abuse and battery charges after allegedly attacking a 16-year-old girl and her boyfriend in a gas station parking lot after a road rage incident in Florida, authorities said this week.
Thomas Keebler was charged with battery, criminal mischief and child abuse in the April 21 attack in the parking lot of the Boggy Bayou Store on Highway 20 in Niceville, according to a news release from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The city is located in Florida’s panhandle.
“He obviously became enraged and couldn’t control his temper and it quickly got out of hand and ended up pushing a girl to the ground and putting the other gentleman in a headlock and punching him multiple times,” said a Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. , Corey Dobridnia, told Mobile, Alabama’s Fox10. “When you’re 16, 17, 18 years old, you don’t expect a grown man to come out and just start attacking you, especially as a woman.
“It’s scary. And some of those things, even if they don’t have injuries, they’re still going to be mentally scarred, just from that whole interaction.”
The suspect followed the car into the parking lot and parked in front of it to prevent them from leaving after tailgating them and aggressively passing the car on the 20 Freeway, authorities said.
Deputies said Keebler can be seen on store surveillance video “aggressively exiting his truck while enraged” as he lunges and tries to hit the passenger in the back seat.
A backseat passenger tried to exit the vehicle, but Keebler kicked the door several times to prevent the passenger from getting out, officials said. He also allegedly pushed a juvenile to the ground, officials said.
When the driver tried to intervene, the suspect allegedly put him in a headlock and punched him in the head several times before taking off, authorities said.
Fox10 reported that a Good Samaritan stepped in to scare him.
Authorities from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, who said deputies had encountered him numerous times and ticketed him several times this year, contacted him.
He turned himself into the Walton County Jail Tuesday night, authorities said.
Authorities said he had an extensive criminal history that 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,” Sheriff Michael Adkinson said in the news release.
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