What first appeared as a potential robbery set-up along the New Jersey Turnpike earlier this month turned out to be two stranded motorists' not-so-brilliant call for help.
Ivan Tukhtin was driving alone down the Turnpike's Newark Bay Extension with his dashcam rolling in the early hours of November 3. He came across two traffic cones sitting in the middle of the road, according to ABC 7. From the start, something seems fishy. There's a car to the side, that doesn't look official and has no lights on. A man in jeans approached Tukhtin in his stopped car. Tukhtin asks what the problem is, but when the unidentified man reaches for his pocket, Tukhtin hits the gas.
This seems like a set up for a carjacking or a robbery, so Tukhtin called the 911. When police arrived they didn't see traffic cones in the road, but found two men and a car out of gas on the shoulder. It seems that the cones were their inappropriate way of flagging down other drivers for help. Police charged the driver with DWI, and his passenger for hindering traffic. Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident.
"You read about the stuff on the internet, people impersonating police, could have been a hijacking, could have been a robbery," Tukhtin told ABC 7. He's right. Stopping on a dark road under suspicious circumstances is always a bad idea. Impersonating a police officer is a serious crime that can happen anywhere. If you suspect that a traffic stop is not legitimate, do not stop. Keep driving and phone police dispatch. They can tell you if the police officer is legitimate or inform the officer that you intent to pull over in a safe area. If you don't have your phone, head to the nearest police station or crowded, well-lit parking lot.