San Diego, CA – Authorities have arrested a man who impersonated a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy to make multiple traffic stops in North County over the past year.
San Diego County Sheriff’s Detective Lester Garman said the incident began at about 2 a.m. on June 13 when a real sheriff’s deputy spotted a vehicle with red and blue flashing lights behind a stopped vehicle on South Mission Road near Winterhaven Road, KSWB reported.
The deputy turned around to back up the officer on the traffic stop.
Det. Garman said that was when the deputy encountered 21-year-old Michael Anthony Carmichael impersonating a member of his own department.
He said Carmichael was dressed in a black polo shirt with sheriff patches on it and a vest with yellow and gold “Sheriff” patches on the front and back, KSWB reported.
The detective said Carmichael fled the scene as soon as his ruse was discovered, prompting a brief pursuit.
But the chase was quickly called off for safety reasons, according to Det. Garman.
A short time later, Carmichael crashed his 2009 Toyota Camry into an embankment, KSWB reported.
The same deputy from whom Carmichael had fled came across the wreck as the crash sparked a small brush fire on the embankment.
Det. Garman said Carmichael had to be pulled from his crashed car by first responders, KSWB reported.
He was transported to the hospital and treated for injuries sustained in the wreck.
When Carmichael was released from the hospital at about 6 a.m., deputies transported him to the Vista Detention Facility, KSWB reported.
He was charged with impersonating a peace officer, felony evading, possessing a baton and brass knuckles, and false imprisonment.
Jail records showed that his bail has been set at $270,000, according to KSWB.
Det. Garman said Carmichael had a female passenger in his vehicle when he crashed.
However, she was not arrested after detectives determined she had “no involvement in Carmichael’s impersonation,” KSWB reported.
Det. Garman said investigators had found at least 10 other fake traffic stops executed by Carmichael going back to August of 2021.
He said Carmichael made those traffic stops in Bonsall, Fallbrook, and Oceanside, KSWB reported.
The sheriff’s department was looking for other possible victims of the sheriff’s deputy impersonator and asked that anyone with information about Carmichael call investigators at 858-565-5200.