Baker County corrections sergeant resigns after road-rage attack

After nearly 7 years with department, man accused of aggravated assault

MACCLENNY, Fla. – A Baker County corrections sergeant was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a road-rage incident last week, and resigned from the Sheriff's Office the next day.

The Sheriff's Office said deputies called just after midnight Wednesday to a disturbance in the Copper Hawk subdivision.

The 19-year-old victim told News4Jax off-camera that he was driving when he and his two friends, who were passengers in the vehicle, spotted a white pickup truck traveling so slowly that appeared to almost be stopped in the road. 

The Sheriff's Office said it identified the man in the pickup as 44-year-old Christopher Ariail, who was employed at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office as a correctional officer sergeant at the time.

The victim, who wished to not be identified, said he drove around Ariail's truck as if there was no problem. 

Moments later, the victim said, Ariail drove up behind him, flashing his high-beams and headlights. Both vehicles stopped and the teen said he got out his vehicle when Ariail called him over. 

As the teen got closer to Ariail’s truck, he said he saw Ariail pull out a gun, so he turned back around and got back in his vehicle. 

Before he could drive off, the victim told deputies that Ariail reached through the window to grab him by the neck, pointed a gun at his head and said, "The speed limit is 15 mph."

Deputies said they later arrested Ariail at his home, where they found his pickup truck and the loaded gun described by the victim and his two friends. 

Hours after the arrest, Ariail was released on $10,000 bond. He resigned after nearly seven years with the Sheriff's Office.

"As sheriff of Baker County I expect our employees to act in a professional manner at work and in the community. This type of behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Employees will be held accountable for their actions on and off the job," Sheriff Scotty Rhoden said in a statement.

If convicted, the man who once watched over county inmates could find himself in prison for up to five years. 

About the Author: