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In trouble before, man leads deputies on car chase

Michael Wilson tells deputies he ran because he did not have a driver's license and did not want to return to jail.

By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 30, 2003

HUDSON -- Michael Wilson was released from jail last Friday after prosecutors said they would not pursue a murder charge against him.

Wilson was back in jail Saturday.

Sheriff's deputies said Wilson, 29, led seven deputies on a high-speed chase for 13 miles early Saturday. Wilson crashed into a deputy's car three times, lost control of his own car and flipped over. No one was injured.

Wilson, 12334 Moon Lake Circle, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, fleeing deputies and driving with a suspended license. He was held at the Land O'Lakes jail on $45,500 bail, a jail spokesman said.

Deputy Robert Jones spotted an Isuzu traveling west on Hudson Avenue at 5:32 a.m. Saturday. Jones said the driver of the Isuzu, Wilson, did not stop at a red signal light before turning right on Fivay Road.

Wilson drove about 40 mph through a stop sign at Fivay Road and U.S. 19, Jones said. Jones activated his lights and sirens and Wilson would not stop, according to an arrest report.

At some point, Wilson turned to his passenger, Allison Ruffini, and said: "Hold on," a report states.

Wilson pressed the gas and traveled about 80 mph around Stingray Court and Stevens Drive. There, Wilson whipped his car around toward Jones, who swerved to avoid a head-on collision, a report states.

The chase continued into Port Richey and New Port Richey.

Deputy P. Leonetti joined in, and around Ridge Road, Wilson kept swerving from side to side to prevent deputies from passing him. Leonetti said Wilson rammed his patrol cruiser three times, temporarily forcing him off the road.

The third time, Leonetti's car crashed into a fence as they traveled south on Regency Park Boulevard near Bramblewood Drive. As Leonetti recovered, Wilson's car started to fishtail, and the right rear of his car hit Leonetti's left front bumper, deputies said.

Wilson lost control and flipped over.

He told deputies he ran because he did not have a driver's license and did not want to return to jail, a report states.

Wilson was arrested last month after he shot 48-year-old Dwight Webb on a dark road in Moon Lake. He was charged with second-degree murder, but prosecutors last week announced that they were not pursuing the charge.

They said Wilson was helping an endangered woman when he shot Webb with a 9mm handgun. He was released from jail March 21. Wilson previously has served time in prison for armed burglary, grand theft and hit-and-run.

-- Jamie Jones covers crime in Pasco County. She can be reached at (727) 869-6245. Send e-mail to

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