Driver charged with DUI after hitting officer investigating deadly hit-and-run

Officer’s condition improving, doctors tell JSO; he’s said to be alert and in good spirits

An officer on the Northside was trying to block the road when he was hit by a car.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As police investigated a 30-year-old man found dead of an apparent hit-and-run in the middle of New Kings Road early Saturday morning, a car struck an officer who was standing outside his patrol car blocking the road.

Jacksonville police identified the officer as 20-year Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office veteran Detective Ernest Wilson. Originally listed in critical but stable condition, Wilson’s status has since been upgraded, and he’s said to be alert and in good spirits.

“We stand with his family in sending him strength in this fight and pray for a full recovery from these injuries,” Sheriff Mike Williams said in a post on JSO’s Facebook page. “We are grateful for the community’s support as we await further reports on his progress.”

JSO said the driver who hit Wilson was arrested on a DUI charge after a roadside investigation.

The crashes took place about 12:30 a.m. on New Kings just north of West 45th Street. Police said the driver who hit Wilson had “entered a closed section of roadway.”

“We would like to ask the community to help us by always remembering to wear their seat belts, watch their speed and avoid any distracted driving,” JSO said after releasing preliminary details of the incidents.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said he trained Wilson when the detective first joined the Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve known him his entire career. Actually when I served as a recruiter for the Sheriff’s Office, he was one of my recruits,” Jefferson said. “And he’s been there ever since. He’s been an outstanding officer.”

Detective Ernest Wilson (far right) when he first joined JSO. Pictured with Ken Jefferson (left) and then-Sheriff Nat Glover. (Courtesy of Ken Jefferson)

Anyone with information about the original hit-and-run crash is encouraged to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 866-845-TIPS.

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