NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — A 5-year-old girl was shot in the leg and a 14-year-old girl was shot in the back Saturday while riding in separate vehicles on U.S. 1 in Callahan just after 6 p.m. Their injuries were the result of their fathers shooting at each other during a road rage incident, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said Monday during a news conference.
"What is scarier than one crazy driver with a gun? Two crazy drivers with a gun," Leeper said.
The drivers the sheriff was referring to are William Hale, 36, and Frank Allison, 43.
Both men are charged with attempted murder. They didn't know each other before the incident that a witness described as a "cat and mouse game," Leeper said. The witness told a 911 operator that the men were driving erratically and "brake-checking" each other.
That's when a driver gets in front of another vehicle and applies the brakes.
The witness said he called 911 because he thought, "something bad was going to happen," Leeper said.
The sheriff said a black Dodge Ram with five occupants driven by Hale of Douglas, Ga. pulled up along side the grey Nissan Murano driven by Allison of Callahan and began shouting at him to pull over.
The right front passenger in the Nissan put her hand out of the window and "flipped off" the Dodge Ram with her middle finger, Leeper said. A plastic water bottle was then tossed from the Dodge Ram into the Nissan.
Allison then grabbed his Sig Saur 45mm handgun and fired one shot at Hale's truck before speeding away, Leeper said. The bullet went through the right rear door hitting the 5 year old in the leg.
Hale told authorities he realized his daughter was shot after Allison sped off. Hale pursued the Nissan and began firing several shots from his Glock 43 9mm handgun out of the driver's window with his left hand, Leeper said adding that the shooter emptied the clip.
Three rounds hit the Nissan with one of the bullets going through the rear of the car striking a 14-year-old girl in the back causing her lung to collapse.
As both suspects continued speeding down U.S. 1 northbound, they spotted a Nassau County sheriff's deputy and pulled over. The men argued with each other and starting fighting. The deputy broke them up, Leeper said.
The deputy called Nassau County rescuers who arrived on the scene and took the children to hospital where they were treated with non-life threatening injuries.
Both men were booked into the Nassau County jail and have since bonded out, Leeper said.
"Thankfully no one was killed in this incident, but it very easily could have turned out that way," Leeper said, "because two people were acting stupid and let their tempers get the best of them."