PANAMA CITY — A trial date has been set for a man accused of carrying 56 grams of methamphetamine while chasing his ex-wife and another man down U.S. 231 and firing a 9mm handgun at them.
Anthony Johnson, 33, was driving down U.S. 231 through Fountain in March 2013 at about 1 a.m. when a pair of bright headlights appeared in the rearview, gaining rapidly. A Toyota truck edged up beside him, gesturing for him to pull over. But he didn’t, fearing the driver’s intentions, Johnson stated in his deposition.
Tasha Gurganus, his passenger, recognized the driver as Jasper Gurganus, 32, her ex-husband. Tasha Gurganus and her two children were staying with Johnson until they could secure a place with her family in Georgia , she later told authorities.
Johnson tried to gun it when he heard what sounded to him like trash being thrown at his truck, he said.
“When I heard a bullet hit my tailgate, I realized he was shooting at me,” Johnson told investigators.
His Ford F250 had the weight to command the road, but a shoddy fuel injector made his engine chug at about 30 mph as broken glass from the rear window rained down on the two inside, and bullets sunk into the metal truck body, he stated.
“I thought a bullet had hit me in the shoulder, which, it might have been a piece of glass,” Johnson said. “At this point I was freaking out.”
Johnson said he weaved to keep the truck behind him and eventually rammed it into a ditch along Webber Road . A cacophony of gunfire continued until they parked at a friend’s house and fled on foot. Johnson told investigators he later dug a bullet out of his visor above where his head was, but neither person was hit.
Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputies found Jasper Gurganus standing next to his truck with the firearm and several spent casings nearby, according to court records.
During an inventory, deputies also found a metal can of Fix-a-Flat with a false bottom in Gurganus’ truck. Inside deputies found $6,170, 56 grams of ICE methamphetamine, a glass pipe, plastic baggies, a cellphone and a digital recorder, according to arrest records.
Gurganus has been charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, discharging a firearm from a vehicle, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia.
Gurganus turned down the state’s offer of 40 years in prison for the two attempted murder charges in favor of a jury trial Oct. 13. If convicted, he would face a minimum mandatory of 40 years before the meth and paraphernalia charges are taken into account.