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Crystal River driver fleeing traffic stop strikes motorist, injures two deputies

The FDLE is investigating the incident, during which deputies shot the driver.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 20
Updated Nov. 21

A driver struck a motorist, injured two deputies and ran into a patrol car while fleeing a traffic stop Tuesday in Citrus County.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies stopped John Travis Wilson, 39, of Crystal River for a traffic violation around 5:30 p.m. near a Sunoco gas station on the corner of Highway 44 and Crede Avenue in Crystal River.

As a deputy was speaking with Wilson, he reversed his vehicle, purposely crashing into a patrol car and knocking over a deputy. He then began moving forward, hitting another deputy.

Deputies fired their weapons “in an attempt to eliminate the threat to publicly safety,” the Sheriff’s Office said. Wilson was hit and sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Wilson then struck another car before damage to his vehicle forced him to abandon it in the parking lot of an Auto Zone on Hwy. 44.

He ran into an adjacent neighborhood, where deputies took him into custody. A K-9 found illegal narcotics in his possession.

The driver of the other car suffered serious injuries, according to deputies.

Wilson had been stopped for failure to wear a seat belt, failure to use the vehicle’s headlights after dusk and illegal window tint, deputies said.

“This was a very dangerous situation where many lives were put at risk this evening," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement. “We are extremely thankful that none of our deputies were seriously injured, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the innocent victim who was struck and seriously injured by the suspect as he was fleeing the scene.”

As is common practice with deputy-involved shootings, the deputies have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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