SAN DIEGO – A 21-year-old man posing as a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy made nearly a dozen fake traffic stops in North County communities dating back to last fall, authorities said.
Michael Anthony Carmichael was arrested Monday in Fallbrook a short time after he’d crashed his 2009 Toyota Camry down an embankment, Det. Lester Garman said in a news release. A deputy spotted his vehicle about 2 a.m. that day with flashing red and blue emergency lights pulled behind another car on South Mission Road near Winterhaven Road.
The deputy turned around to help with what appeared to be a traffic stop when he encountered Carmichael, described as wearing a black polo shirt with sheriff patches on it and a vest with the yellow and gold “SHERIFF” patch on the front and back, Garman said.
It prompted a brief pursuit that was soon called off for safety reasons. The deputy later came across the crash scene that sparked a small brush fire.
Garman said Carmichael needed to be pulled from the car and was treated for injuries at an area hospital.
He was jailed shortly after 6 a.m. in the Vista Detention Facility with his bail set at $270,000, jail records show. Carmichael now faces a number of charges including impersonating a peace officer, felony evading, possessing a baton and brass knuckles and false imprisonment.
There also was a female passenger in his car at the time of the crash. She suffered minor aches and pains and was not arrested as it was determined she had “no involvement in Carmichael’s impersonation.”
No other injuries were reported.
Investigators determined that Carmichael executed 10 other fake traffic stops since August 2021 with instances in Bonsall, Fallbrook and Oceanside, Garman said. The agency now is searching for other potential victims who may have been pulled over by him.
Those with information to share with investigators about Carmichael were asked to call the sheriff’s department at 858-565-5200. Tips also can be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.