Marion County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Summerfield habitual traffic offender Sunday morning following a pursuit that ended in a crash on Lake Weir Road.
A sheriff’s deputy said he saw a green Mitsubishi exit the Circle K at 5201 S Hwy. 441, then stop in the middle of the roadway and head back into the minimart parking lot “in a reckless manner.” The vehicle then pulled out of the parking lot via the 52nd Street exit and traveled north on U.S. Hwy. 441 at varying speeds while straddling the right lane and crossing over the white line multiple times, a sheriff’s office report states.
The deputy activated his emergency lights and attempted to stop the Mitsubishi in the 4200 block of U.S. Hwy. 441. But the vehicle failed to stop and then sped up, the report says, adding that the deputy then activated his siren as well.
The vehicle headed north on U.S. Hwy. 441 and then right onto Lake Weir Avenue. The pursuit continued until the Mitsubishi crashed at the intersection of 38th Street and Lake Weir Avenue after the driver, later identified as 31-year-old Richard Shane Wills, lost control and ended up in a ditch, the report says.
Wills then fled eastbound through the ditch and a short time later was taken into custody by the deputy. When asked if his license was suspended, Wills answered “for many things,” the report says.
After putting Wills in his patrol vehicle, the deputy spoke with the vehicle’s passengers. One said that Wills was “driving in an erratic manner the entire ride.” The other passenger said he owns the Mitsubishi and once he saw Wills eluding law enforcement, he pulled the emergency brake and shut the ignition off, which led to the crash, the report says.
After the deputy read Wills his rights, he refused to speak with him. The deputy then ran a computer check that showed Wills as a habitual traffic offender with 22 license suspensions and eight revocations. It also showed that his license was revoked on April 10, 2017 for being a habitual traffic offender and again indefinitely this past April 19 for fleeing and eluding a police officer, the report says.
Wills was transported to the Marion County Jail and charged with fleeing/eluding an officer with lights and siren active, resisting arrest without violence and driving with a suspended license (habitual offender).
Wills, who has been in the Marion County Jail 25 times since June 2006, was being held with no bond. He is due in court Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. to answer to the charges.