While driving an unmarked police car through a central Florida neighborhood, Detective Brandon Spillings saw something unusual – another unmarked car with strobe lights flashing pulling over a motorist on State Road 200. He knew there wasn't another unmarked car in the area.
Spillings attempted to pull over the other police vehicle. When the white GMC pickup sped away, it confirmed his suspicions that someone had been impersonating a police officer.
Marion County police say Allen Anthony Clifton, 29, of Ocala, Fla. led them on a high-speed chase through several Ocala neighborhoods that reached 120 mph in a 45-mph zone and forced other vehicles off the road. He is charged with impersonating a police officer, felony fleeing and eluding and third-offense DUI, according to Ocala.com.
Detective Yobanny Valdez said that Clifton had bloodshot eyes and spoke with "slurred speech," according to the news outlet. Police found five bottles of Pearl Vodka in a paper back inside Clifton's truck.
Clifton is not the only alleged police imposter in the news. In Mississippi, police officials said they fear someone is impersonating a police officer, pulling cars over along the side of the highway and murdering their victims. Two motorists have been found shot to death this month, and similarities between the cases have led police to suspect someone is impersonating an officer.
Clifton's alleged attempt to pull over an unsuspecting motorist brings a good opportunity to remind motorists how they can handle a traffic stop if they are unsure of its legitimacy.
If you think you are being pulled over by law enforcement, do pull over. But keep your windows up and doors locked, and hands on the wheel so the probable officer can see. But calmly ask the officer, when he approaches, to show you his proper badge and credential because of incidents like this. Above all, stay calm, and be polite.
This impersonator was driving an unmarked car. You can usually be sure that a marked police car on a highway is the real deal. The time and occasion to be more cautious is on back roads when an unmarked car pulls you over.
In Mississippi, police said that drivers being pulled over have the right to put their flashers on and driver slowly to a lighted and populated area before coming to a stop.