Friday, April 20, 2018
Public safety

Man climbs 40 stories above Brooksville cement plant, fights with deputies

BROOKSVILLE

Man battles deputies 400 feet above ground

When deputies caught up to him early Sunday about 40 stories above a cement plant, Jonathan Robert Wilkinson of Land O'Lakes refused to come down without a fight, authorities say.

A plant supervisor saw the 20-year-old Wilkinson ascending a stairwell on the kiln structure at the Cemex plant off Cobb Road in Brooksville and dialed 911 about 1:45 a.m., according to a Hernando County Sheriff's Office report. At one point, Wilkinson left the stairwell and started walking on a nearby beam about 60 feet above the ground, the report said.

Employees told responding deputies Steven George and Michael Kistler that Wilkinson had climbed to the top platform of the preheating tower, nearly 400 feet above the ground and surrounded by a 3-foot-high railing. According to a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, the workers told the deputies that Wilkinson was yelling, hitting himself and damaging plant equipment.

When the two deputies climbed to the platform, Wilkinson hit Kistler in the head and face several times with closed fists, the report said. George deployed his Taser, but Wilkinson, who is 5 feet 9 and 145 pounds, kept swinging, landing several blows on the deputy's chest. Wilkinson continued to try to kick and bite the deputies as they put leg shackles on him, the report said.

Wilkinson, of 3206 Wheeling Court in Land O'Lakes, was taken to Brooksville Regional Hospital for evaluation, then booked at the Hernando County Detention Center on charges of battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and trespassing.

He remained in jail Tuesday with bail set at $20,500.

CLEARWATER

Triathlon worker charged with theft

A worker at the TriRock Triathlon was arrested Sunday after authorities say he attempted to steal a generator from event organizers, then led police on a race around town.

Clearwater police say Christopher James Fusco, 43, of Holiday, was working as a day laborer for the triathlon on Clearwater Beach when he started loading the 3,000-watt Honda generator into the trunk of a 2005 Hyundai around noon Sunday. Another race employee confronted Fusco, who at first maintained the generator belonged to him, authorities said. When challenged again, Fusco removed the device from his trunk and fled the scene in the vehicle, they said.

A Clearwater police officer located the vehicle in the 600 block of S Gulfview Boulevard and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but Fusco sped off. The chase continued onto eastbound Bayway Boulevard where, authorities say, Fusco unsuccessfully tried to strike another officer's vehicle head-on.

The suspect was later found on Palm Island Drive NE under a dock and taken into custody. He was charged with grand theft, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing to elude, burglary and violating probation on a prior police battery conviction.

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Updated: 04/19/18