‘X Factor’ contestant steals car in effort to make next round, police say

An “X Factor” contestant’s journey to stardom took a detour to Slidell City Jail on Monday after police say he stole a car and led them on a high-speed chase in a desperate attempt to get home and prepare for a trip to New York.

Orrion Wilson, 20, of Florida, was booked on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, theft of a motor vehicle, theft over $500, criminal damage to property, resisting a police officer and aggravated flight from an officer.

It was the second time Wilson has been accused of stealing a car since October and the third time he’s been arrested in the past two years, according to Florida court records. Wilson remains in custody and is awaiting a transfer to the St. Tammany Parish Jail.

The incident began around 8:15 p.m. Monday at a gas station on Voters Road, said Detective Daniel Seuzeneau, a police spokesman. A local man went into the gas station, but left his car running in the parking lot. Wilson, sensing opportunity, leaped into the vehicle, chucked his suitcase in the backseat and drove off, Seuzeneau said.

When the vehicle’s owner notified police of the theft, they saturated the area with officers. Seuzeneau said Officer Michael Giardina saw the car on Fremaux Avenue and tried to get Wilson to stop. Not only did Wilson refuse, but police say he led them on a high-speed chase through the city at speeds in excess of 75 mph. Seuzeneau said that during the chase, Wilson rammed a police car and appeared to be trying to escape to Interstate 10.

However, Giardina was able to cause Wilson’s vehicle to fishtail by pushing on its side and rear in what is known as a “PIT maneuver”. Seuzeneau said the chase ended near where it started, in a grass lot near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Fremaux Avenue.

When police stopped Wilson, he initially tried to run away on foot but was quickly caught, Seuzeneau said. During questioning, Wilson told police he used all of his money to get a plane ticket to New Orleans for “X Factor” auditions last weekend and to take cabs around the city. He said he needed to get back to Florida and prepare because the judges liked him enough to invite him to New York for the next round. When he saw the vehicle running, Seuzeneau says Wilson made a quick decision.

“I had no choice,” Wilson allegedly told officers.

Seuzeneau noted that it’s not clear whether Wilson will be free from jail to attend the next round of auditions. Wilson was free on bond in Florida at the time of his most recent arrest.