ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - St. Johns County deputies are looking for a man behind a frightening road rage incident.
Investigators said he pulled out a box cutter and pointed the blade at a man’s face after a near collision. The unknown man is now wanted on charges of aggravated assault, though no one was hurt.
It happened Friday night at the Circle K gas station on US-1 North near the St. Augustine’s airport.
Detectives released surveillance images from the gas station on Thursday, asking for the public’s help finding the culprit.
“It certainly could’ve been bad,” St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan told News4Jax.
Security video obtained by News4Jax shows the confrontation and witnesses corroborated the victim’s story that the man pulled out a box cutter in a road rage tirade.
“This individual who is the victim in this case stated to deputies that he made a mistake while driving, almost caused a crash,” Mulligan said.
After the near collision, the driver stopped at the Circle K and started walking in. According to the incident report, the suspect approached him cursing. He then pulled out a box cutter near the front of the store and put it in the other driver’s face.
A clerk called 911 and bystanders got involved, according to a witness who spoke to News4Jax on the condition of anonymity.
They said the man then left in a red Nissan sedan, possibly a Sentra. He hasn’t been found since. Witnesses described the perpetrator as a skinny white male with tattoos and reddish hair.
“Obviously if this individual was driving around and somebody else cut him off and this is his way of addressing situations like that, then certainly we have a very dangerous set of circumstances for someone else,” Mulligan added. He said the incident could have escalated into a deadly fight.
Tom Verri, a former New York Police Department officer who now runs a branch of Signal 88 Security in St. Johns County patrols nearby. He said in a situation like this, drivers should try to stay in the vehicles and keep driving until you can get in touch with an officer.
In this scenario, however, deputies believe the victim did not know the perpetrator followed him until he was out of his car. The victim was not identified because of Marsy’s Law.
“As you go about daily life, never get yourself into a place where you are so complacent that you don’t know what’s going on around you,” Verri said. “Especially places like gas stations, convenience stores, where we find that those are places where things like this often happen.”
Deputies ask anyone who sees the man or his vehicle to let them know immediately. The surveillance video they have does not show the suspect’s license plate. Taking notes of the plate number will help lead to his arrest.
SJSO Detective Jacob Manning is looking for information and additional possible witnesses to the crime. Investigators ask anyone with details to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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