A 40-year-old Alabama man who authorities said has an extensive criminal history and is “danger on the road and off” faces child abuse and battery charges after allegedly attacking a 16-year-old girl and her boyfriend in a gas station parking lot following a road rage 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 at the Boggy Bayou Store on Highway 20 in Niceville, according to a news release from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The city is in Florida’s panhandle.
“He just obviously became enraged and couldn’t control his temper, and it got out of hand fast and ended up shoving a girl to the ground and putting the other gentleman in a headlock and hitting him several times,” Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Corey Dobridnia, told Mobile, Alabama’s Fox10. “When you’re 16, 17, 18 years old, you’re not expecting a grown man to get out and just start attacking you, especially as a female.
“It’s scary. And some of that stuff, even though 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 Highway 20, authorities said.
Deputies said Keebler can be seen in store surveillance video “aggressively exiting his truck while enraged,” lunging and trying to hit the back seat passenger.
A passenger in the backseat tried to exit the vehicle, but Keebler kicked the door multiple 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 struck him in the head numerous times before taking off, authorities said.
Fox10 reported a good Samaritan stepped in to scare him off.
Authorities from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, who said deputies had encountered him numerous times and issued him tickets multiple times this year, contacted him.
He turned himself into the Walton County Jail on Tuesday evening, authorities said.
Authorities said he had an 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,” Sheriff Michael Adkinson said in the news release.
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Thomas Keebler faces child abuse charges in road rage attack
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