By LEAH STRATMANN
A Walton County judge has signed a warrant against Gregory Alan Dickson of Santa Rosa Beach stemming from an incident on Aug. 10 when Dickson allegedly brandished a gun at cyclists biking along CR-30A. The incident occurred early in the morning and Craig Baronowski said he and other members of a cycling team were traveling west. While going through WaterSound, an area with medians in the road, a mid-sized pickup truck honked at them and then violently swerved around them passing very close by.
One of the other cyclists gestured to the man to come back and speak with them, but instead the driver applied his brakes and pushed a black handgun out the driver’s side window and began waving it at the cyclists before speeding away. The cyclists dialed 911 and gave a description of the vehicle to Walton County deputies who put out a BOLO (be on the lookout) bulletin for the truck and driver.
Baronowski also posted a description of the truck — painted metallic orange with a railing around the bed — on the chat board at SoWal.com. Within days the truck and the owner’s residence had been identified. Deputies visited Dickson’s home and they told Baronowski Dickson admitted to the incident and said the cyclists should not have been on the road at all.
“When the incident happened, it was less than one-eighth of a mile from his house. There was no one on the road and he lit out that fast from his home. He literally pulled out into the street and we were there and he freaked out. I sponsor a cycling team and we ride respectfully. We are not just random tourists and we are out there every day in our uniforms,” Baronowski said.
“We were in our team uniforms and we ride that road every morning. If he had been the least bit remorseful, I might have let it go, but this guy needs to have his gun taken away,” Baronowski said. Baronowski and the other cyclists filed charges later that same week and on Aug. 29, Lt. Derral Skinner received word a judge had signed the warrant, which Skinner expected to be served over the Labor Day weekend.
“He’s been charged with reckless exhibition of a firearm, which is a first-class misdemeanor,” Skinner said. “The crime is punishable by a $500 fine, six months in jail, or both,” he said. Skinner said it would be up to the judge’s discretion what punishment would be levied if Dickson is found guilty.
A check of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Website revealed that Dickson had been arrested in 1989 in Marianna on a charge of driving under the influence. He had no other Florida criminal history.