Nine-time convicted felon John Travis Wilson will face a number of new charges for the Tuesday evening melee he caused in Crystal River.
The 39-year-old Crystal River man is suspected of attempting to run over two undercover sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night while fleeing a traffic stop at State Road 44 and North Crede Avenue, near the Sunoco Gas Station at 6971 W. Gulf to Lake Highway. Wilson remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries as the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and officer-involved shooting, according to a sheriff’s office spokeswoman.
Wilson was cited for failure to wear a seat belt, failure to use the vehicles headlights after dusk and illegal window tint, said Jodi Sanders, community relations specialist with the sheriff’s office. Investigators did locate narcotics in Wilson’s vehicle after the crash. She would not elaborate on the type of drugs and quantity. No weapon was found.
Now, charges await Wilson once he is released from the hospital, Sanders said.
The pending charges for Wilson are nothing new, according to county and state records. Wilson is a nine-time convicted felon with 19 misdemeanors, 11 convictions, 13 re-arrests and a pair of incarcerations, including a 16-month stint in 2015 in the county jail.
Per the Florida Department of Corrections, Wilson was sentenced to five years in prison Nov. 15, 2004, for possession of cocaine, sale/manufacture/deliver marijuana, fleeing/eluding law enforcement at a high rate of speed, conspiracy to sell/manufacture/deliver cocaine and methamphetamine and possession of cocaine. All of those charges were levied between January 2002 and April 2004, records state.
Tuesday’s events began when undercover deputies, who are a part of the agency’s Tactical Impact Unit, conducted a traffic stop on Wilson. While speaking to the deputy, Wilson accelerated to flee. In doing so, he struck two deputies, both of whom fired shots at the Wilson’s vehicle. Those deputies will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the FDLE investigation into the officer-related shooting. The names of those deputies involved in the shooting will not be released, per state statute, said Jodi Sanders, community relations specialist with the sheriff’s office.
“Because of what the Tactical Impact Unit does, it’s important that their identities are kept secret,” Sanders explained, noting the deputies were checked at the scene and not seriously injured. “They seem to be alright; they still have to do their medical check-up.”
Wilson fled westbound on State Road 44, striking a patrol cruiser, Sheriff Mike Prendergast told the Chronicle on Tuesday night. Less than two miles from the Sunoco, Wilson struck a motorcyclist, Sanders said, who remains hospitalized while receiving treatments for “severe injuries.” The name of the motorcyclist, Sanders said, was not available Wednesday.
After striking the motorcyclist, an eyewitness said Wilson’s car jumped the curb at the intersection of S.R. 44 and Northeast 10th Avenue, where it struck a tree in the parking lot at Auto Zone Auto Parts at 990 N.E. 5th St.
The suspect then fled south on foot, according to Prendergast, taking refuge in a nearby home.
“Someone did come out of the home and identify the suspect was there and had injuries,” Prendergast said.
Anyone with information connected to the incident to call the agency’s non-emergency number at 352-726-1121 or, for those who wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 888-ANY-TIPS (888-269-8477) or visit crimestopperscitrus.com.