PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) -- Pulaski County law enforcement agencies are warning women that someone is pretending to be a police officer in order to pull them over.
Three times in the span of a week, a man has attempted to pull over women in Sherwood and Jacksonville. In the first two incidents, the suspect followed the victims from Sherwood to Jacksonville. In the third incident, the suspect pulled over a female driver in Sherwood.
“I don’t know what he could’ve done, what he had on him, or anything,” the woman said. She agreed to share her story with THV11 on the condition of anonymity.
The fake officer followed her northbound on Highway 107 late Saturday night. After following her for a couple miles, he flashed a solitary blue light at her and she pulled over to the side of the road.
“And it was pitch black where we were,” she recalled, “and it was kind of like, this doesn’t seem right. Because any normal cop car has their spotlights, and the bar blue lights and all that stuff. And a actual flashlight, not a cell phone light.”
The imposter approached her window, further raising her suspicions. “He didn’t have, like, a uniform on, or anything like that,” she stated. “He was, like, in a gray hoodie-type jacket, with khaki pants.”
He claimed he was a Sherwood police officer, but refused to provide identification. He asked the woman to get out of her car, but she refused. He also would not explain why he pulled her over, so she grabbed her phone and put her car in gear.
“I was like, ‘well, I’m on the phone with dispatch right now,’” she mentioned. “As soon as I said that and started to pull off, he got in his car and took off back into Sherwood.”
Sergeant Jason Hopkins of the Sherwood police department said the woman was smart to call 9-1-1, to make sure he was not a real officer. He mentioned that all official police cars will have bar lights either on top of the vehicle or above the dash, and their headlights will also flash during a traffic stop.
Even though she made several good decisions, the woman knows the first thing she did was a mistake.
“Don’t pull over in the dark,” she stated. “Which I shouldn’t have done. My dad has taught me not to do that, but I did!”
Hopkins said a real officer will understand if a driver continues, slowly, to a well-lit area instead of pulling over in the dark.
“You never know what somebody could really do,” the woman mentioned. “You never know. Somebody could be sneaking around the other side of your car, you know, you never really know. Especially because all this happens kind of late at night, I guess.
“I’m glad I can be able to tell my story and make people more aware of, be cautious of what you’re doing, of people around you, especially in that kind of situation.”
After the woman drove away from the impersonator, she had to stop a few blocks away because her nerves would not let her keep driving.
“I knew, if I let him know that I was scared, or nervous, or anything, he could’ve took advantage of that and made it worse. So I just kind of was like, I was scared, but I kept it in until I realized he was gone, and my emotions set in. And I was really shaky. Like, when the two police officers got there, they asked me for my driver’s license, and my hands were shaking, I was shaking. And they were like, ‘it’s okay, just calm down.’”
The Jacksonville police department did not mention what happened in the cases that ended there. The suspect in both instances was described as having short, brown hair, and was driving a silver truck that resembles a Ford Explorer Sport Trac. A spokesperson for Jacksonville PD said the department does not have any vehicles like that in its fleet.
The man who pulled her over the woman in Sherwood driving a white sedan, which she said looked like a Chevrolet Impala.