Denison Police are asking members of the public to remain vigilant after a man who falsely claimed to be a Texas Ranger pulled a woman over on the highway late Tuesday night and attempted to direct her toward a park.
Lt. Mike Eppler said the incident occurred in the 800 block of northbound U.S. Highway 75 at approximately 11:30 p.m., but was not reported to police until the following evening. Eppler said the woman told investigators she was returning home from work when a black SUV with a spotlight and flashing, red and blue grill lights appeared behind her vehicle. The woman said she pulled over to the side of the road and was approached by a white male, whom she estimated to be roughly 30 years old with a red-colored beard and a weapon.
“He briefly produced some type of badge and said he was a Texas Ranger,” Eppler said. “He said he pulled her over because she was speeding and a tag light was out. He said if she would pull into Loy Park down there, then he would not write her a ticket.”
Eppler said the woman quickly grew suspicious of the man and his commands.
“She was on the phone with a friend that was in law enforcement, while all this was going on,” Eppler said. “He told her that it just didn’t sound right, so she drove off.”
The Denison Police lieutenant said it was unclear why the man tried to direct the woman off the roadway and toward the park.
“We don’t know what his intentions were, honestly,” Eppler said.
By in large, Eppler said police officers are required to carry identification verifying their status as a law enforcement agent and must allow citizens to inspect the ID upon request. Eppler said if motorists have doubts about the authenticity of a traffic stop or officer, they should contact dispatchers and request an that officer be sent to their location.
“If they feel like it’s not really an officer, then they can call 911 and tell dispatch about the situation,” Eppler said. “If it’s not one of our officers that has somebody stopped, then we will send somebody out to see what’s going on.”
Eppler said the Texas Rangers have been notified of the incident and the investigation is ongoing.