JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Monday confirmed the identity of a driver accused of running into a police officer who was standing outside his patrol car.
The Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Andres Florez, 31, and charged him with DUI with personal injury. Records show he’s an ex-con who served two prison sentences for felony battery and burglary.
The officer who was injured was identified as Det. Ernest Wilson, a 20-year veteran of JSO. The incident was reported early Saturday morning on New Kings Road just north of West 45th Street. Investigators said police were investigating an unrelated case -- a 30-year-old man found dead of an apparent hit-and-run -- when Wilson was struck.
The Sheriff’s Office said over the weekend that Wilson’s medical status was improving.
He was initially recruited to JSO by now News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson who at the time was working at the Sheriff’s Office.
“Recruited him. Brought him through the hiring process and since that time he’s been a stellar officer. Now a detective in the evidence technician unit,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson Added that the stretch of New Kings Road near 45th Street is notorious for speeding drivers.
News4jax also spoke with people who live and work along the stretch of road. They say drivers often speed through there and they consider it dangerous.
“I know it’s like this constantly. All night long. This is like a freeway here,” said Debra Smith who lives near the road.
At last check, Wilson was said to be alert and in good spirts.
“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.”