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Beaufort couple charged in Bluffton road-rage incident speak out

The women seen here were charged with misdemeanors by the Bluffton Police Department for an alleged road rage incident that occurred in Bluffton's Old Town Promenade on Sept. 17, in which a woman, not pictured, was assaulted. The man was not charged.
The women seen here were charged with misdemeanors by the Bluffton Police Department for an alleged road rage incident that occurred in Bluffton's Old Town Promenade on Sept. 17, in which a woman, not pictured, was assaulted. The man was not charged. Submitted photo

The couple charged with assault in a road rage incident at the Bluffton Promenade in September said Tuesday they feared for their safety after several people made threats on social media following the altercation.

James Taylor Goble and Stacy Goble of Beaufort also expressed frustration with their pending criminal case and a recently filed lawsuit by Kerstin Taylor, who was involved in the altercation with the Gobles.

On Sept. 5, the Gobles said they were leaving Captain Woody's in the Promenade when James Goble's truck was nearly hit by a car driving recklessly through the parking lot. The couple followed the car to the other end of the Promenade, where Stacy Goble said she asked Taylor if she knew who had been driving the car.

"I was like, 'They're driving crazy, are you OK?'" she said. "She just started cursing at us, told us we had no right to ask us whose car it was. My son was in the car. I was just like, 'Wow.'"

Taylor said Sept. 11 she did not know where the couple thought she was speeding. She said the couple accused her of nearly hitting their children, so she only tried to apologize and end the situation. Taylor said the incident escalated when she correctly pointed out that the Gobles had driven the wrong way down a one-way street.

Stacy Goble said Taylor approached their truck with coffee in her hand cursing at the couple. Worried that Taylor might throw hot coffee at the truck and scald her son, her instinct was to get out of the truck and block Taylor from reaching the vehicle, rather than tell her husband to drive away.

If she had another chance, she would have done things differently, she said Tuesday.

Taylor has said Stacy Goble smacked Taylor's coffee into her face. Goble said she deflected it when Taylor tried to throw it on her. The two began to hit one another. Stacy Goble said Taylor tried to scratch at her mouth and gouge her eyes.

James Goble exited the truck and attempted to separate the women, but Taylor began to hit him too, he said.

Most of the incident was videotaped from a second-floor window. Video shows the two women grabbing each other's hair and trying to hit each other. When James Goble tried to separate the women who fell to the ground and continued to strike one another.

As the two women fight on the ground, Goble can be seen on the video circling them. He said Tuesday he was looking for an opening to separate the women without getting hit.

"I didn't want it to go any further," he said. "I didn't want them fighting any longer."

As the couple returned to their truck, Stacy Goble can be seen on the video throwing an object at Taylor. She said Tuesday the object was a bracelet she thought Taylor had been wearing.

Stacy Goble also lost a piece of jewelry in the exchange; a necklace her husband had given her after the birth of their son was torn off, she said. Stacy Goble said the necklace was returned by police a few weeks later, and she was told it had been found by an unknown person and given to Taylor, who later turned it over to police.

Despite the incident, the Gobles did not try to call the police. New to the area, they didn't know where to turn, Stacy Goble said.

"I didn't know my way around here," she said. "I didn't want to waste anyone's time."

On Sept. 10, the Gobles saw their altercation with Taylor had made the news and found out the police were investigating.

Taylor had taken several photos of the truck as the Gobles turned away. She turned over the photos and a copy of the video to the Bluffton Police Department.

Taylor broke a fingertip in the exchange, a fingernail was torn off and she had bruises to her face and neck. Stacy Goble had bruises and cuts on her gums from the fight.

The Gobles found Taylor's Facebook profile, where they said they were shocked to see threats directed their way. One post recommended hiring a private investigator to track the Gobles down, then have someone "break their kneecaps."

"I couldn't sleep," Stacy Goble said. "It caused me great stress."

Both the Gobles and Taylor were charged with assault and battery by Bluffton police Sept. 17. All three had an initial court appearance scheduled in October, but the Gobles were told they did not have to appear in court, said Lady's Island attorney Jeff Stephens, who represents the Gobles in their criminal case.

But as they later found out, Taylor's charge was dismissed because the Gobles weren't present, Stephens said.

"They were very upset that Taylor's case was dismissed," he said. "The victim's advocate did not contact them that they needed to be in court."

The couple were waiting outside Bluffton Municipal Court on Nov. 17 when they were served a lawsuit filed in Beaufort County court by Taylor. The lawsuit alleges James Goble negligently drove his truck the wrong way into the parking lot, starting the altercation, and that Stacy Goble was negligent in attacking Taylor.

The lawsuit also accuses the couple of assault and battery and asks for medical expenses, lost wages, and other actual and punitive damages.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Taylor and her attorney, John Bowen of Hilton Head Island, for comment were unsuccessful.

It could take months for both cases to be resolved. The Gobles have not filed a response to the lawsuit yet, but they said the suit omits significant details about the Sept. 5 incident, and they dispute Taylor's account of the incident.

James Goble said he just wants all of it to go away for both parties.

"It's a shame they couldn't have just talked about it," Stephens said.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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