FALLBROOK, Calif. – Authorities Monday are investigating a crash involving a man suspected of impersonating a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy in Fallbrook.
Just before 2 a.m., a deputy spotted a car with front and rear flashing lights pulled over behind another on South Mission Road near Winterhaven Road, the agency said. The deputy then turned around to help with what appeared to be a traffic stop.
When the deputy got there, he encountered a man who looked like a deputy wearing a black shirt with sheriff patches on it and a gun vest with the word “sheriff” printed across it, according to Detective Lester Garman. A gun also was visible in the holster.
As the uniformed deputy turned around to assist who he thought was a plainclothes deputy, the man ran back to his car and took off, prompting a brief pursuit that soon was called off for safety reasons, authorities said.
Later, the deputy came across a crash scene where he found the car he’d been pursuing crashed down an embankment. The suspect, 21-year-old Michael Carmichael, was pulled from the vehicle and taken to an area hospital, officials said. He faces charges of impersonating a peace officer, felony evading, possessing a baton and brass knuckles, as well as false imprisonment.
Deputies found an airsoft gun in the car and a female passenger. She had minor aches and pains from the crash but was not arrested.
The woman who was initially pulled over by the suspect was not hurt, Garman confirmed.
Deputies continued the investigation at the suspect’s home in Oceanside, where authorities say they found additional items that could be used to impersonate a deputy, police officer or security guard.
Garman said all the guns seized Monday were replicas.