Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated three out-of-the-ordinary incidents over the weekend, including the arrest of a man who shot at an approaching deputy, the search for and recovery of a Uriah man who fell from a bridge, and the accidental shooting of a man who was attempting to open an antique handgun.
A Brewton man was taken into custody after he fired a .45-caliber bullet at an ECSO officer who pulled into his driveway around 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 30.
Chief Deputy Mike Lambert reported that the deputy had returned to a Trinity Lane address, in the Barnett’s Crossroad area, to retrieve some paperwork from the victim of a domestic violence incident that had occurred earlier.
Lambert said that when the county lawman pulled into the drive, in a marked vehicle with its headlights shining, he noticed a man, later identified as 47-year-old Michael Shane Wickliffe, standing under a tree.
The deputy flicked his blue lights on and off to let the man know he was an officer of the law, prompting Wickliffe to send a bullet from a 1911 Colt .45 flying in his direction. The bullet missed the vehicle and the deputy.
An investigation revealed that Wickliffe was a convicted felon, and he was charged with being “a certain person prohibited from possessing a pistol,” as well as first-degree attempted assault on a law enforcement officer.
“We’re very fortunate nothing bad happened,” said Lambert, who added that the Brewton man told the deputy he “thought (the officer) was a prowler.”
Fall from a bridge
Jeffrey Wayne Kelley, 44, of Uriah reportedly suffered at least temporary paralysis of his lower body after he apparently fell from Little River Bridge late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (July 2) while apparently trying to walk home after his car broke down.
Lambert said dispatchers received a call late Saturday night or early Sunday morning from family members who reported that Kelley had not returned from a class reunion that was held at Little River State Park. A deputy who was sent to the area found Kelley’s vehicle parked beside the road, but could find no sign of the missing man.
Since the bridge straddles the Escambia-Monroe county line, sheriff’s offices from both counties and other emergency personnel launched a search for Kelley.
They finally found him around 10:30 a.m. Sunday after Kelley found his phone and texted family members with his approximate location.
He was stabilized, loaded onto a medical evacuation helicopter and flown to Baptist Medical Center in Pensacola.
Lambert said Kelley, who had no feeling from his waist down, told deputies that his car broke down as he was returning from the reunion and he decided to walk back to Uriah to get assistance. He added that “to avoid traffic, he decided to walk on the bridge, but fell off.”
The weekend’s third unusual incident occurred around 1:50 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at a residence on Jack Springs Road.
Lambert reported that several members of a family of a recently deceased individual had gathered at the location to divide property in accordance with the departed person’s will.
According to sheriff’s reports, Samuel Eli Williams, 57, of Elberta, was attempting to open the breach of a derringer pistol when he accidently pulled the trigger, sending a bullet through his hand and into his thigh.
Williams was taken by ambulance to a nearby staging area, where he was loaded onto a medical evacuation helicopter and flown to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.
“It was an interesting weekend,” Lambert said.