A 21-year-old Middleburg man is in the Clay County jail after a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant was stabbed Sunday night in an apparent road-rage incident in a CVS parking lot on U.S. 17, according to the Orange Park Police Department.
Tyler Lee Ennis of Seminole Village Drive was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after he was stopped in Middleburg an hour after the incident, police said. Marine Corps Lt. Jared Cox, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, was in Northeast Florida for training, police said.
Cox was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with a 24-inch-long cut on his back and underwent surgery, but is expected to recover, police said. Marine Corps officials in Beaufort said they could not release any more information on Cox until his family has been notofied of the incident.
The incident began just after 7:30 p.m. when Cox apparently cut Ennis off unintentionally while both were driving on U.S. 17 in Orange Park. Ennis followed the Marine into the CVS store parking lot in the 1900 block of Park Avenue and confronted him, police said. What started as an argument soon turned physical.
"The suspect head-butted the victim in the face, and both men went to the ground," Orange Park Police Chief G. A. Goble said. "Once on the ground the suspect produced a knife ... and stabbed/cut the victim across the back."
Ennis drove away before police arrived, but witnesses got a description of his vehicle and his license plate and it was radioed to area law enforcement. A Clay County Sheriff's Office deputy spotted Ennis' vehicle at Black Creek and Sandy Run drives about 8:30 p.m. and stopped him, finding a folding knife with blood on it in his possession, police said.