A 49-year-old woman escaped injury on Monday night when she drove away from a man who pretended to be a police officer but pulled a knife after stopping her on Yarnell Road near Clinton, authorities said.
It’s the second report of a police impersonator in Anderson County this month.
The woman was pulled over by the man at about 9:45 p.m. Monday on Yarnell Road off East Wolf Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.
“He approached the victim and asked for her driver’s license,” Lucas said. “He then pulled a knife, and she immediately drove away and called 911.”
In this case, the descriptions of both the suspect and his car are different from the previous incident. The suspect in the Monday night incident was described as a white male in his mid- or late-20s to mid-30s, six feet tall, 200 pounds, clean-shaven, with a muscular build and short dark brown hair. He reportedly spoke with a soft voice. The suspect was well-dressed wearing dark civilian clothing (not a uniform) and had a badge on his belt. The victim did not see a firearm, Lucas said.
The car was described as a dark-colored sedan, possibly an older model Chevrolet Caprice with a chrome grille, and it had a revolving blue light on the dash. The car also was believed to have a spotlight, but it was not used when stopping the victim.
“Since descriptions of the person and the car are different, we are unsure if this is the same suspect as the earlier incident,” Lucas said. “What is most concerning in this case is the suspect pulled a knife on the victim. Quick thinking in driving away prevented her from being harmed.”
Lucas said the suspect and his vehicle description have been broadcast to all surrounding law enforcement agencies, and a search of the area where this incident occurred was done but the vehicle was not located.
In the earlier case two weeks ago, a fake officer pulled over a woman on Laurel Road near Clinton using a red flashing light on his dash, which he turned off after they stopped. The impersonator in that case spoke in a deep “country” voice, and he asked the motorist for her driver’s license and to search her car. When she received a call on her cell phone, he stated she was “free to go” and left traveling toward Clinton on Laurel Road. The victim then drove away and contacted the Sheriff’s Department.
The vehicle in that earlier case was described as a dark-colored late ’90s Chevrolet Lumina. The impersonator was described as a white male, mid-30s to mid-40s, 5’10″ to 5’11″, and about 200 pounds, with a stomach that hung slightly over his belt. He had ear-length brown hair, combed to one side, balding on top of the head with a receding hairline and a graying mustache. He was wearing a white button-up shirt with dark dress pants and had a gold- or brass-colored badge on his left side and a revolver in a dark-colored soft holster on his right side.
Lucas said the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit has been following up on both tips from the public as well as from other police agencies on the earlier case. However, none have yielded a possible suspect at this time.
“We also have been conducting extra patrols in the area of the previous incident, but the suspect or his vehicle have not been found,” Lucas said. “We will continue extra patrols not only in the areas where these incidents have occurred but throughout the county seeking vehicles matching both descriptions.”
The Sheriff’s Department is urging anyone with information on either of these cases to contact Sergeant Jeff Davis with the Criminal Investigations Unit at (865) 457-6255, extension 1141, or the communications center at (865) 457-2414.
“The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department would again like to remind motorists if they are unsure if they are being pulled over by an actual law enforcement officer they should turn on their hazard flashers, call 911, and slowly drive to a well-lit area such as a business or store before stopping,” Lucas said.