Victim in road-rage case with priest: 'I just don't understand'

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Soon after a man was charged with pointing a semi-automatic Glock handgun at Sharon Hughes from his red Corvette, she saw a news report and found her alleged assailant was an Episcopal priest.

"For him to do this, a man of God, I just don't understand it," Hughes, of St. Cloud, south of Orlando, Florida, told The Palm Beach Post on Monday.

Episcopal authorities in North Carolina aren’t commenting on last week’s road-rage arrest of one of their own, William Rian Adams, on Florida’s Treasure Coast after authorities said he threatened the central Florida woman and her son on Florida’s Turnpike.

Adams, 35, of Fletcher, North Carolina, faces two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A call to Adams’ Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher, south of Asheville, went to voicemail and has not been returned.

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The church's website lists the "Very Rev. W. Rian Adams" as church rector, a term for a parish priest. Its newsletter says Adams, along with his wife and son, joined the church Sept. 11, adding, "We welcome the Adams to our parish family and to our community."

A woman who answered the phone Monday at the church's governing body, the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, said the diocese had no comment. She did not respond when asked if the diocese had taken any action against Adams.

Adams was booked into the Martin County Jail at about 1:20 a.m. Thursday and was released about two hours later after posting $15,000 bail, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. No court date has been set.

Telephone numbers listed for Adams either were disconnected or led to a busy signal.

“After all is said and done, we are confident that Mr. Adams will be completely exonerated in this matter. He is innocent,” his attorney, Brian Mallonee, of Fort Pierce, said Monday in a statement emailed to The Post.

>> Related: Priest arrested in road rage incident

Late on Wednesday, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a report, Adams was driving a red Chevrolet Corvette at mile marker 125 near Palm City, in Martin County, when a Chevrolet Silverado pickup came up close behind.

The FHP says the people in the pickup told troopers Adams tried to do a “brake check” — hitting his brakes hard to let someone know how close he or she is. The report says Adams told investigators that as the truck pulled alongside, one of the people inside rolled down a window, started screaming and threw a soda bottle. The report says no alcohol was involved.

Hughes, 54, and her son Christopher Hughes, 24, told troopers that Christopher Hughes was driving and that as they passed the Corvette, Adams pulled out his gun. They then called 911, and troopers pulled Adams over in St. Lucie County, the report said. Adams told troopers his Glock 22 — a 15-round, .40 caliber pistol — was not loaded and had been kept under his passenger seat.

“We were not behind him. He came up on the side of us and went right on the front of us and slammed on his brakes right away,” Sharon Hughes told The Post on Monday. “We’re not sure where he came from. He came flying up in the left-hand lane.”

Sharon Hughes said Monday she and her son had been traveling to visit with an ill relative at the time of the encounter. She said she didn’t learn until later that her alleged assailant was a priest.

“There was nobody else on the road. Everything just happened so fast,” Sharon Hughes said. “He was cursing and he pulled his gun. It’s as simple as that.”

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